Upcoming Special Issue
Peripheral Literatures and the History of Capitalism
Guest Editors: Ericka Beckman, Oded Nir, and Emilio Sauri
Deadline for Submissions: 1 November 2020
This special issue asks how peripheral literatures understand on a global scale the history of capitalism from the late nineteenth century to the present. While classic Marxist theories of literature have long posited a relationship between modern aesthetic forms and the history of capitalism, their sites of inquiry remain for the most part bound to the heartlands of capital accumulation in Europe and North America. Informed by recent discussions of world literature, the planetary turn, peripheral realisms, and peripheral modernisms, this issue asks after the specific ways in which literature expresses moments of transition on the peripheries and semi-peripheries of the capitalist world-system. We are interested in how literature engages with the specific material conditions that have characterized peripheral and semi-peripheral societies in specific moments—including but not limited to the history of chattel slavery and other forms of coerced labor, the predominance of agrarian over industrial modes of capital accumulation, and the susceptibility of peripheral societies to global financial flows. Literature’s engagement with the unique conditions of the periphery should not be seen as occurring at a remove from the development of the world-system as a whole; rather, we are interested in exploring the specific ways peripheral literatures allow us to grasp global economic transformations of which they are a necessary part. To read authors such as Rabindranath Tagore, Abdelrahman Munif, Roberto Bolaño, Toni Morrison, Clarice Lispector, and James Joyce together is to see that these dynamics are not the same always and everywhere, and it is precisely for this reason that we focus on the ways peripheral and semi-peripheral texts, in terms of both their specific contents and forms, create new knowledge about the world-system itself.
Ongoing critical engagement with topics such as extractive capitalism, financialization, and neoliberal austerity mark a deep concern with the relationship between literature and the economic. And yet most contemporary approaches remain committed to thinking primarily about the subjective dimension of capitalist transformations. How then might peripheral literatures make visible the realities of global capitalism, allowing us to see in new ways a system that continues to rest on the division of the planet into economic centers, peripheries, and semi-peripheries? What does the history of capitalism look like when viewed from the periphery? And what might literary history look like when viewed from the same vantage point?
Essays should be 7,000-9,000 words, including all quotations and bibliographic references, and should follow the MLA Handbook (8th edition) for internal citation and Works Cited. Please submit your essay via the online submission form at the following web address: mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mfs
Upcoming Special Issue
Guest Editor: Paul B. Armstrong, Brown University
Deadline for Submissions: 8 January 2021
Modernism has long been associated with an interest in consciousness, psychology, and the inner life, but critics have also long disagreed about how to understand this interest and what to make of it. The recent proliferation of cognitive approaches to reading and literature has renewed interest in questions concerning the modernist preoccupation with consciousness but has spawned new controversies about how to address them.
David Lodge argues that literary representations of cognitive life offer knowledge about what it is like to be conscious that is complementary to what the sciences can disclose, and Terence Cave describes literary history as a “cognitive archive” testifying to the many ways in which consciousness has been experienced and understood. Modernist experiments with styles for representing consciousness would seem to offer a rich trove of materials for exploring various dimensions of cognitive life of interest to the contemporary sciences of mind. Rejecting a pluralist approach, however, David Herman claims that modernist writers are united with contemporary cognitive science in rejecting a Cartesian splitting of mind and body, and he argues that this literary and scientific consensus about the embodiment of consciousness calls into question the very notion of a modernist “inward turn.”
How should we understand the variety of cognitive modernisms? Do writers as different as Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Lawrence, Barnes, Faulkner, Beckett, and Morrison agree on what consciousness is like and how to represent it? Are the many styles in the modernist archive complementary representations of universal aspects of cognitive life that converge with the findings of science? Or are they evidence of the historical and cultural plasticity of consciousness and the aesthetic variability of the modes of rendering that have sought to capture its diverse, changeable characteristics? Should the styles of modernist representation be understood as manifestations of the peculiarities of cognitive life in the long twentieth century, for example, that are better studied historically rather than phenomenologically, as Jonathan Crary has done in his analyses of the social construction of vision and perception?
This special issue on “Cognitive Modernisms” invites contributions that analyze what modernist texts reveal about consciousness, what different cognitive approaches reveal about modernism, or what the disputes about how to interpret modernist representations of consciousness reveal about the methodological and theoretical issues at stake in studies of modernism and cognition. Essays are welcome that employ any of the many different approaches that characterize cognitive literary studies–for example: 4e cognition, experiential phenomenology, post-classical narratology, affect theory, disability studies, relevance theory, Bayesian predictive processing, kinematic approaches, and experimental studies. Contributions are also encouraged that question the cognitive turn from historical, cultural, and political perspectives or from positions beyond the human (animal studies, the new materialism, the nonhuman, the Anthropocene, etc.).
Essays should be 7,000-9,000 words, including all quotations and bibliographic references, and should follow the MLA Handbook (8th edition) for internal citation and Works Cited. Please submit your essay via the online submission form at the following web address: mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mfs.
Queries should be directed to Paul Armstrong (Paul_Armstrong@Brown.edu).