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CFP: AJVS Special Issue, “Water” (6/30/23)

Special Issue: "Water"
Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies
Submission Deadline: June 30, 2023

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.                     

(Matthew Arnold, "Dover Beach")

Water is necessary for the existence of all of nature. Throughout human history it has been fetishized, considered sacred, and misused and abused in agricultural and industrial production. In the nineteenth century, representations of water were in transition as modes of production moved from agrarian to industrialisation, and imperialism opened up the oceans for travel. Poets, artists and writers were inspired by the beauty, force, and necessity of this element, from bubbling brooks, oceans and streams, and tears as metaphors of nature and humanity.

Many of our current concerns about climate change and environmental sustainability have their foundations in the nineteenth century, along with the preoccupations with water and water usage, but also the ways in which water is a focaliser of cultural and religious practice, from baptism to ideas of spas and healing springs.

The Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies welcomes contributions of scholarly research and creative writing on nineteenth-century representations of water and its significance.

Topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Different bodies and forms of water (still and flowing, steam and ice)
  • Tides
  • Water and technology
  • Blue humanities, wet ontologies, and critical ocean studies
  • Indigenous representations of water
  • Water travel, islands, and liminal spaces
  • Immigration and colonialism
  • Water metaphors and poetics; genre; hydrofiction
  • Religion and sacred waters
  • Eco-criticism and poetic waterways
  • Fluidity: gender; between realism and romance
  • Water in natural history
  • Water in the human body
  • Water as an element: working with or in opposition to fire, air and earth
  • Water as a force of nature; floods and droughts and tsunamis (natural disasters)
  • Water and death

This special edition will be launched at the AVSA 2023 conference, ELEMENTS.

Essays and creative pieces should be submitted to AJVS by Friday, June 30, 2023.

Scholarly Essays: 5000-8000 words

Creative writing: Up to 2000 words prose or up to 4 pages of poetry. 

Enquiries should be sent to Lesa Scholl (Lesa.Scholl@queens.unimelb.edu.au), Helen Blythe (helen.blythe@aut.ac.nz), or Alexandra Lewis (Alexandra.Lewis@newcastle.edu.au).

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