Victorian Network is an open-access, MLA-indexed, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing and promoting the best work across the broad field of Victorian Studies by postgraduate students and early career academics. They are delighted to announce that their fourteenth issue (2021) on the theme of “Victorian Ecologies” will be guest edited by Elizabeth Miller (UC Davis).
As the climate crisis has shifted with unprecedented urgency to the centre of public, political, and scientific discourse, it has sent profound ripples through the humanities and Victorian Studies in particular. New work in the field is pushing to reassess and reconfigure longstanding assumptions about periodicity and modes of cultural production in order to better understand how the human species emerged as an actor on a planetary scale over the course of the long nineteenth century.
The turn of the nineteenth century has come to be recognised by many scholars as the onset of the Anthropocene as a geological epoch as well as an interdisciplinary nexus of discourses and epistemologies. The Industrial Revolution and imperial expansion shaped the geopolitics of climate change, including the unequal distribution of climate change’s consequences, the fossil fuel economy, mass consumerism, and globalisation. At the same time, the work of such writers as Charles Darwin, John Ruskin, or Charles Lyell recalibrated public and scientific thinking about the human species’ impact on and relationship with the environment.
In our current moment – as much as in the nineteenth century – global climate change is a phenomenon investigated, and a challenge tackled, most productively at the intersections of different disciplines. Recent work in the field has been taking this to heart, acknowledging Dipesh Chakrabarty’s influential observation that human and geological timescales, and human and natural history, have collapsed into one another. “Victorian Ecologies” seeks to explore new political ecologies, and new modes of literary and cultural inquiry into anthropogenic climate change.
The organizers invite submissions of approximately 7,000 words on any aspect of the theme. Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to:
- ecocritical perspectives on Victorian or neo-Victorian fiction
- humans and the environment
- new ontologies of human and nonhuman life
- narrative or literary form and climate change/the environment
- anthropocene and posthuman temporalities, incl. geological deep time
- empire / inequality and the geopolitics of climate change
- cultural imaginaries of ecological disaster
- Victorian climate fiction
- climate and health
- energy and waste
- agriculture and the seasons/climate
All submissions should conform to MHRA house style and the in-house submission guidelines. Submissions should be received by 28 February 2021.