Emergent research into happiness is still largely situated in fields such as sociology, psychology, and neuroscience. Traditionally the uncontested domain of the Humanities, the question of ‘How should we live?’ is too rarely approached in contemporary literary and cultural studies. Indeed, even in a thriving field such as affect studies, research still largely focuses on negative emotions, ugly feelings (Ngai), shame (Probyn), paranoia (Sedgwick), failure (Halberstam), and the cruelty of optimism (Berlant). But perhaps the critical tide is turning. Scholars are beginning
to theorise the end of our well-rehearsed ‘hermeneutics of suspicion,’ and conjecturing what comes after (Felski). They are mapping the potential path for a ‘eudaimonic criticism’ (Pawelski & Moore) and an ‘ethics of hope’ (Braidotti), looking towards a more positive future (Muñoz). Critical and historical studies on empathy (Meghan; Keen), joy (Potkay) and happiness itself (Ahmed) are also emerging.
Inspired by the growing body of scholarship on optimistic representations or gender, sexuality, and queerness, Writing from Below enters the fray with this invitation to explore and interrogate positive, successful, fulfilling, life-affirming expressions of gender and sexuality in contemporary or historical literature, culture, and society.
Papers could engage with (but are not limited to):
- Pleasure, joy, jouissance, delight, splendour, enchantment, empathy, and kindness
- Love, passion, and amour fou
- Middlebrow pleasure
- Living the queer life, and queer(ing) happiness
- Eudaimonia, mindfulness, and wellbeing
- Eudaimonic reading, and the eudaimonic turn in cultural and literary studies
- The hermeneutics of suspicion, paranoid and reparative reading, and their aftermath
- Ethical criticism, the ethics of hope, and hopelessness
- The body as site of happiness, joy, pleasure, etc.
- Affect, the theories and/or histories of positive emotions
- Celebration, and celebration as protest
- Burlesque, clowning, circus, carnivals, and the carnivalesque
- Kitsch, camp, and drag
- Sex and play, sex lives, fun
- Vitality, verve, vigour, and liveliness
- Biological life, bios, zoe, survival, sur-vivre [living-on], affirmation
- The utopian tendencies of gender studies and queer theory
- The (queer) future, queer futurity, and happy endings
Gender studies and queer theory are located across and between disciplines,
and so we welcome submissions from across (and outside of, against and up
against) the full cross-/inter/-trans-disciplinary spectrum, and from
inside and outside of conventional academia.
Do not be limited. Be brave. Play with form, style, and genre. Invent,
The deadline for submissions is 29 May 2017.
To submit, visit our website: www.writingfrombelow.org.au
Written submissions, whether critical or creative, should be between 3,000
and 6,000 words in length, and should adhere strictly to the 16th edition
of the Chicago Manual of Style.
All submissions— critical, creative, and those falling in between; no matter
the format or medium— will be subject to a process of double-blind peer
For more information, please contact our guest editor, Dr Juliane Roemhild: