Call for Papers–Worlds of Resistance: Dystopia and Heterotopia in Fiction and Reality

We find ourselves in a period of worlding and otherworlding, of recognizing that the microcosms in which we operated were not simply illusory but untenable, shielding us from the worlds of others. It is a time when stories keep shifting, but the cri de coeur remains that of culture. Despite this sudden impulse to be caught again in the act of knowing, to see our neighbors through a different skin, much of the media seems to take a positivist stance on the culture concept. For many, however, the recognition of multiple social, ideological and political worlds, coexisting and overlapping, is nothing new–it was always already there if you knew where to look. For some, the horrific dimensions of the nightly news are chthonic in nature (Haraway 2016), while others stray towards the uncanny, the ways in which we are haunted by our history (Tsing et al. 2017). We draw upon models of world-building and ethnography for stories of resistance that break with the familiar paradigms. As anthropologists, we are archeologists of the past, present and future, digging into the hidden layers of sediment so that we can better understand the terrain above, the ground swell.

We are soliciting stories for a new series on Worlds of Resistance: Dystopia and Heterotopia in Fiction and Reality we hope to publish in the coming months on our blog and ultimately package as a PDF for scholars, teachers and the general public. We invite writers exploring this process of wording, the dystopian to the heterotopic, the alternative versions of the past and speculative visions of the future as they articulate with the conditions we find ourselves contending with today. As geeks, we imaginatively immerse ourselves in content that begs us to suspend our assumptions about the world we live in and consider the life history of another, from Jericho (2006-2008) to Born in Flames (1983). As anthropologists, we conduct the in-depth research necessary to break down monolithic concepts of culture, parse out the inconsistencies and contradictory elements of human behavior, and remind ourselves that we have examples of activism and advocacy from our ethnographic endeavors on the sub-altern, the political fringe, studying up and studying down at the interstices of symbolic violence and outright aggression. Like our colleagues at Anthrodendum/Savage Minds, Somatosphere, and Anthropology News, we’d like authors to consider how we go about thinking about the co-construction and co-habitation of worlds and what models, fictional or otherwise, we can use to think through these moments of crisis. How do these modalities get co-opted? And how can these processes of re-storying the world be applied?

Please send pitches and submissions to We ask that pitches are abstract length, between 100 to 250 words. We will be accepting submissions on a rolling basis but we ask that authors interested in being included in the PDF project submit pitches by the end of September. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Works Cited

Haraway, Donna J. Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthlucene. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Tsing, Anna Haupt, Swanson, Heather Anne, Gan, Elaine and Nils Bubandt eds. Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.



About Emma Louise Backe

I graduated from Vassar College, which makes me an official liberal-arts witch, where I majored in Cultural Anthropology and English. I focused on the intersection between medical anthropology and folklore, indigenous narrative practices and healing techniques, and the role of language and storytelling in healing. I'm a logophile at heart--the bookish type that's always carrying around three or four books, loves experimenting with language, and has something of an Indiana Jones complex. I've worked in South Africa at the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit; interned with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, The NAMES Project Foundation, and the UCLA Center for Art and Global Health; served as Head Consultant of Vassar College's Writing Center; volunteered with Peace Corps on community health empowerment; and worked as the Research Assistant at The Global Women's Institute at George Washington University. I have spent most of my professional career working on human rights issues, specifically violence against women and girls and reproductive health rights. I am currently pursuing my Master's at George Washington University.

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