Vulnerable: Representing Vulnerability in Literature and Film

Due Date: 12-18-2020

The term vulnerability was adopted by Judith Butler in the aftermath of 9/11 to signify the undesirable exposure of nations and peoples to war-related acts of violence. Butler questioned whose lives mattered at an international scale, as well as whose vulnerabilities remained invisible and uncontested as nationalist discourses strove to get over the United States’ own sense of fragility by increasing the vulnerability of peoples and nations whose lives not only did not matter but were even a condition to make up for the United States’ perceived ontological damage.

We seek contributions that explore the ways in which representing vulnerability problematizes its visibilization in film and literature. Both theoretical and practical approaches as well as different critical stances are welcome. Suggested topics include representations of vulnerability that involve, intersect, or synergize with other concomitant areas, such as the following:

  • Poverty
  • Migration (including refugees, diasporas, etc.)
  • Ecology (ecological disasters, pollution, speciesism, etc.)
  • Violence (war, crime, etc.)
  • Spatial (literary) studies
  • Disability
  • Technology
  • Racial/ethnic difference
  • Gender
  • Age (children, old age, etc.)
  • Literacy
  • Cultural difference
  • Religious confession

Prospective authors are invited to submit abstract proposals consisting of a tentative title; a 500-word summary; 5 keywords; and a 200-word CV, including the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and e-mail address by 18 December 2020. Abstracts should be sent as Word files with the subject “Vulnerable Submission.” Abstracts and full chapters must conform to Chicago style (author-date system) and be sent to Authors will be notified of their paper proposal acceptance by 1 February 2021.

Full chapters (5,000–7,000 words) will be expected by 1 November 2021. For more information, visit