Creature Redux: Considering the Pasts, Presents, and Futures of Chimera in Fiction and Popular Culture (Edited Collection) [DEADLINE EXTENDED]
Call for Papers- Creature Redux: Considering the Pasts, Presents, and Futures of Chimera in Fiction and Popular Culture
Extended Deadline: April 21st, 2023 (4/21/23)
Animals are the quotidian absolute Other. They are not inherently horrifying, dangerous, or invasive; nor do they have designs to usurp or subjugate humanity. In his lecture-turned-book The Animal That Therefore I Am, Derrida critiques the use of the word “animal” to describe an almost limitless array of creatures. “Animal” becomes a catch-all term for everything that is otherwise than human–and not the biological entity, but a specific, constructed hegemonic entity.
Similarly, monsters and monstrosity are oft used to delineate the limits of “the human” or “the normal.” And yet, the boundaries around what makes a monster are in constant flux, adjusting to fit the time and place of a monster’s creation. As Jeffery Jerome Cohen famously states in Monster Theory: Reading Culture, monsters are “an embodiment of a certain cultural moment—of a time, a feeling, and a place.” “Monster,” then, becomes a term to understand not only the creature it describes, but the people wielding it as well.
Drawing a bridge between the study of animals and monsters, this collection turns toward the chimera. As a proper noun, Chimera are figures in Greek mythology. However, the term has transformed to, a) suggest any blend of persons, places, or things (though frequently creatures) that is an amalgamation of different elements or to, b) dismiss something as a flight of fancy, entirely unrealistic. Across time, the chimera has maintained a presence in literature and, in our modern era, has become entwined with cutting-edge scientific research. Yet, while stories of chimera abound and are even becoming a complex, biological reality, the chimera resists classification and rejects taxonomy. She instead creeps, leaps, and breathes fire through staid categories, forced boundaries, and comfortable assumptions. And she does not always do it nicely.
This collection aims to combine the meanings of chimera in our own chimerical creation–monster, animal, mythological, fantastical–to propose a “neither this nor that,” but an “all of the above.” Though we look to center fictional representations of chimera, we encourage writers to think broadly about the figure and what she could be or represent across genres and time. Additionally, this collection could be considered posthuman and posthumanist–rejecting the Cartesian definition of the individual and the traditional binaries–but rather than something that comes after, the chimera is something that comes through. The chimera extends from the past to the future, evolving and mutating along the way.
Through this collection, we look to investigate junctions, crossings, and mixtures of creatures that push, challenge, and distort the boundaries of the human in numerous ways. What the human is, has been, or could be is a question that possesses serious and highly relevant implications in our contemporary moment. How does the chimera’s inherent hybridity complicate our understanding of the familiar and the other? We seek analyses that center the idea of the chimera in fictional texts of any medium, genre, place, or time period. Some topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Animals becoming monsters
- Body horror and the chimera
- Chimera across genre/chimerical-genres
- Chimera across time
- Hybrids, transformations, and blends
- Kaiju as chimera
- Mythological origins and histories of chimera
- Pets as chimera
- Pop-culture franchises as chimera; the chimera and the crossover event
- Post-subject chimera, the chimera after “humanism”
- Realistic depictions of chimeras in fiction
- Robo-chimera; the machine animal; or the animal as machine
- The legacy of H.G. Well’s The Island of Dr. Moreau
- The posthuman as chimera
- The sliding scale of anthropomorphism
- Time/place/space as chimera
Please send chapter proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than March 31st, 2023. We welcome proposals from scholars, researchers, and practitioners of all levels and particularly encourage early-career scholars and scholars without university affiliation to apply.
Additionally, we’re looking to produce a short, companion podcast series for Creature Redux that interfaces with collected essays. The series might consist of interviews with contributors or conversations around points of connection between essays, but will ultimately evolve and take shape based on the pieces we receive and interest from authors/publishers. Please know that this podcast will not be a requirement of participation.
Please include the following with your chapter proposal:
- Preferred email contact
- Institutional Affiliation, if applicable
- A 350 - 500 word abstract of the proposed essay
- Working title for your essay
- A brief, 150-word biography
Chapter proposals are due no later than March 31st, 2023. If the essay is accepted to the collection, we anticipate complete chapter drafts of approximately 5000-7000 words will be due in October 2023. All drafts should be in MLA format, reflecting the 9th edition updates. The editors, Dr. Samantha Baugus and Dr. Ayanni C. H. Cooper, are happy to receive questions, queries, and concerns at email@example.com.
Samantha Baugus and Ayanni Cooper