For postcolonialists

CfP Special Issue of Humanities on Postcolonial Literatures

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      Kevin Potter


      Humanities, Special Issue:

      “Disturbances of Home/land in Anglophone Postcolonial Literatures”



      Call for Papers:

      In our vision of the home, or of what we associate with home, we tend to conjure up images of comfort, stability, permanence, primacy, and belonging. This image extends beyond the confines of an individual house or dwelling-place, and characterizes how we tend to treat our national homeland(s), our place(s) of origin, or locales with which we identify, as something that offers the same, home-like features and the same (seemingly natural) sense of belonging. However, the mapping of home and homeland is far from self-evident and even less innocent – as is made clear in the use of homeland as home or Heimat in nationalist and populist discourses. In such essentialising discourses, home turns into a space in need of defense, a “place where one is in because an Other(s) is kept out” (George, The Politics of Home, 1999, p. 27).


      In this special issue, we want to shift the perspective away from seeing home/lands as pre-existing places in need of defense, and instead turn our attention toward disturbances. Specifically, we want to investigate the role that disturbances play in both challenging naturalized notions of the home and in constructing new senses of homes and homelands. In other words, we want to draw out the fluid processes of identification, recognition, and resistance that bring home into being.


      This is specifically salient in the context of postcolonial writings about home and homeland. Postcolonial authors tackle issues of shifting borders, changing cultural relations, accelerated mobility, global socio-economic crises, hierarchies, and inequalities. In such writing, home and homeland are not only questioned; they are disturbed and undermined. The notion of the disturbance enables us to explore the uses and abuses of home and homeland. After all, disturbances, by definition, render a particular situation or place (momentarily or perpetually) unstable. Thus, a disturbance makes clear how our sense of home and homeland as stable and our sense of belonging as natural continue to be dangerous illusions. Postcolonial writing calls these assumptions into question by commenting on, ridiculing, satirizing, or reconfiguring ideals of stability, belonging, and permanence. In other words, they demonstrate ways in which the homeland can be disturbed – disturbed through cultural and linguistic change, immigration, diaspora, conflict, war, economic uncertainty, and shifting power relations.


      For this special issue of Humanities, we are looking for articles that demonstrate the ways in which postcolonial literatures from the 1990s onwards have reflected and represented “disturbances of the homeland.” What notions of disturbance are used in postcolonial writing to question the stability of home/land? How do authors use their texts to comment on ideals of stability, permanence, and belonging within a nation or home? How do these texts help us to imagine multiple forms of belonging, stability, and permanence? How do literary authors force us to re-evaluate the political value we assign to our home and nation? To what extent can a literary text be said to offer an aesthetic or poetic ‘disturbance’ in (national) literatures? How do literary characters embody a disturbing subject-position in relation to the home and homeland? What discursive and counter-discursive practices are mapped out in literary texts that de-legitimize and de-stabilize the power relations within (and beyond) the home?

      These are some of the many questions we are aiming to address in this special issue. Authors are welcome to address wide-ranging topics that involve Anglophone postcolonial literatures. These topics include (but are not limited to):


      • Re-evaluations of home and homeland
      • Cultural hybridity in narratives of national homeland
      • Practices of doing and making home
      • Literary aesthetics that disturb ideas of homeland
      • Diaspora and migration as disturbances to the nation
      • Migrants as ‘disturbing’ figures to the homeland
      • Indigenous writings that disturb ideas of homeland and nation
      • Literature as a national counter-narrative
      • National literatures and counter-national narratives
      • Affective attachments to the home and the nation
      • Re-assessments of national memory and history in postcolonial writing


      Authors are welcome to submit one article (up to 7000 words, including works cited) that relates to these topics (or other relevant topics). The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2019. Please send full articles, plus an abstract, to Publication is expected for the end of 2019.


      Prof. Dr. Sarah Heinz

      Lukas Klik

      Kevin Potter

      Dr. Tatiana Prorokova

      Guest Editors




      • Home and homeland
      • postcolonial literature
      • disturbance
      • nation
      • belonging and migration
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