CALL FOR PAPERS
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WEIRD SCIENCES AND
THE SCIENCES OF THE WEIRD
Recent scientific discoveries in climatology, animal cognition and microbiology have radically altered our conceptions of ourselves and the environment we live in, both on micro- and macro-scales. Zooming in on the human microbiome and out to the planetary ecosystem, or even further into infinite cosmic spaces, the sciences are revealing strange dynamics of human-nonhuman interconnectedness, undoing the established anthropocentrism and the idea of human exceptionalism. Current theoretical discussions revolving around the human-environment relation have shifted their interests from discourse to matter, shedding new light on strange bodily assemblages composed of anaerobic bacteria which live in symbiotic relationships with the human body (Jane Bennett, Stacy Alaimo), other types of cognition and intelligent life apart from our own (Steven Shaviro) and, especially, the mechanisms by which human action, no matter how abstract or invisible, contributes to the global ecological transformations (Donna Haraway, Timothy Morton). The ultimate effect of these conceptual transformations is a certain sense of estrangement that is often, but not necessarily, tied to feelings of unease, horror and/or fascination. This specific affect is commonly referred to as the weird because it operates through disrupting our ordinary perception and experience, creating confusion and a sense of disorientation.
Strange modes of human-nonhuman interactions are steadily pervading contemporary theoretical thought which analyzes the weird as a specific form of affect, effect and aesthetics signaled by a sense of wrongness (Mark Fisher). In conjunction with an increasing awareness of these estranged environments, a growing tendency towards the aesthetics of the weird is visible in popular culture and contemporary art production. As a continuation of H.P. Lovecraft’s weird tradition, “the weird” is now bringing together some of the most exciting contemporary writers and filmmakers: China Miéville, Elvia Wilk, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jeff VanderMeer, Athina Rachel Tsangari and Yorgos Lanthimos, to name just the most significant ones. Similar tendencies are also evident in TV shows such as True Detective (inspired by Thomas Ligotti’s nihilistic weird fiction), Stranger Things and the Twin Peaks revival (echoing Lovecraftian cosmic horror). The aesthetics of weird is also embraced by musicians such as Björk, Gazelle Twin, FKA Twigs and inscribed in particular new media art practices, especially bioart.
In this issue of Pulse, we aim to investigate the aesthetics, politics and ethics of the weird from various theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, particularly those within the framework of environmental humanities: ecocriticism, geocriticism, animal studies, critical plant studies, posthumanism, new materialism, actor-network theory, queer theory, xenofeminism etc. How do the sciences estrange our conceptions of the world and how is this articulated in artistic practices? Starting from the confluence of art and science, our aim is to map diverse territories of the weird in literature, film, music, television, video games, visual arts, comic books, dance, theatre and other media.
Possible topics include but are not limited to:
— theory of the weird: posthumanism, speculative realism, object oriented ontology, new materialism
— cognitive and affective aspects of the weird
— the weird, supernatural and unheimlich
— New Weird and the Other
— speculative fiction, science fiction, horror and weird fiction
— intersections of the weird and grotesque, fantasy, magical realism, etc.
— Anthropocene, deep time and the weird
— animal and plant life and the weird
— multispecies ecologies, human-nonhuman entanglements
— anomalies, mutations and hybrids
— inorganic matter in arts and literature
— eerie landscapes and extinction
— weird bodies: trans-corporeality, queer, transhumanism
Mark Fisher, The Weird and the Eerie, 2016, Repeater Books, London.
Julius Greve and Florian Zappe (eds.), Spaces and Fictions of the Weird and the Fantastic: Ecologies, Geographies, Oddities, 2019, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Donna Haraway, 2016, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Duke Univ. Press
Steven Shaviro, Discognition, 2016, Repeater Books, London.
* Marijeta Bradić graduated in Croatian Language and Literature at the Faculty of Humanities in Pula, Croatia, and is now a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb.
Her research focuses on weird fiction, climatology and Anthropocene studies, as well as eco-criticism and animal studies. She also works as Project Assistant at the Metamedia Association in Pula, Croatia.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED:
30 July 2020
We welcome the submission of FULL ARTICLES (5000-6000 words) on these and related themes. We also publish BOOK REVIEWS(800-1000 words); please get in touch if there is a book you would like to review.
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