CFP : "Unstable states, mutable conditions"

Call for papers :

Angles, French Perspectives on the Anglophone World :
Unstable states, mutable conditions

There is a particular instability proper to the English-speaking world in which mutability seems to be of the essence, as when Shakespeare alternated sea and land in Sonnet 64 :

When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store ;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay

The point is also made in a more explicitly political mode by Caliban in The Tempest, suggesting that the absolute of sovereignty is, in fact, contingent, reversible :

This island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou tak’st from me. When thou cam’st first,
Thou strok’st me and made much of me, would’st give me
Water with berries in’t, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less
That burn by day and night ; and then I loved thee,
And show’d thee all the qualities o’th’isle,
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile─
Cursed be I that did so ! All the charms
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you ;
For I am all the subjects that you have,
Which first was my own king, and here you sty me
In this hard rock, while you do keep from me
The rest o’th’ island. (Act 1, scene 2)

Literature, theatre, high culture and popular culture… all are animated by the evidence of change and reversal. However, the question goes beyond the banal acknowledgement of “how the mighty have fallen” or the ironic invalidation of once-confident sovereignties. The issue is now an important and intriguing one, particularly in the less and less “united” and increasingly mutable “United Kingdom”, which for so long had invoked the sanctity of union and the deference to local, customary diversity in its successful management of those very forces of anti-traditionalist modernity of which the Anglophone world, from England to New England, or from Australia to Lagos, has been the agent.

We would therefore like to contend that, perhaps more so than in other regions of European modernity, an affinity can be identified in the Anglophone world for unstable states and mutable conditions :

In the endeavour of a poetry, from William Blake to the Australian poet Les Murray, to voice the unvoiceable, to permutate the habitual perspectives in order to consider the experience of a non-human, animal Other ;

In the profusion of ghosts and monsters, in the beasts that stalk this world, in the thick wilderness or the polite society of drawing rooms ;

In the subtlety of a Humean and Darwinian method for the exploration of a natural history or a moral history of human institutions, a method sceptical of fixities and textbook oppositions between body and mind, freedom and the passions, the animal and the human… a method, in short, opening onto the evidence that both change and interconnections are ongoing and incremental ;

In the changes of scale and framing in the writing of history, in the emergence of a global history of and by connectedness (Sanjay Subrahmanyam) ;

In the fabric of the language we call the “English” language, with its hybridity, ab origine, its ongoing mutability as “world language” in the era of global capitalism.

We wish to examine in this issue the vitality of English as a world language epitomized by the principles of mutability and “Heraclitean flux”, starting with the hypothesis that mutability is of the essence in the English-speaking world, whose politics, culture and language have integrated the defining mutability of modernity.

Contributions will attempt to marshal the methods of several branches of English/Anglophone studies — linguistics, literature, civilization — as well as the methods of other disciplines to study unstable states and mutable conditions in and of the English/Anglophone world. Contributions adopting non-traditional approaches, be it in form or content (documentary film, short story, comic book, manifesto, pamphlet…), are particularly welcome.

Scholars from all disciplines are invited to submit 500-word proposals addressing these or other topics/approaches.

Other topics

Additional, off-topic articles submitted to the same double-blind peer-review process will be published in a separate section of the issue. These off-topic articles may also respond to articles previously published in Angles.

Submission Procedures
All submitted articles are subject to a double-blind review process.
Abstract submission due : 15 October 2015
Completed paper submission due : 15 June 2016
Publication date : Fall 2016

We encourage submissions from both graduate students and established researchers in the field. Submitted papers should not have been previously published, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere.

For further information, please contact the guest editor : Cornelius Crowley, cornelius.crowley@u-paris10.fr

A complete stylesheet and other details can be found online on the journal’s website : http://angles.saesfrance.org