Guest edited by Marjolein van Herten & Marieke Winkler (Open University, the Netherlands)
Within the current debate on the societal and environmental impact of climate change scientists and policymakers as well as artists stress the importance of producing compelling narratives to envision a safe future society. Especially speculative fiction – the genre that explores possible futures – plays an important, integrating role in imagining and engaging with the implications of climate change: not only do fictional narratives offer a great opportunity to engage readers on a personal level with the complexities and scale of climate change, they also prove to be productive in policy making practices and in mediating calculated, data-driven climate scenarios (Hajer 2005; Hulme 2009; Thomas 2013; Moezzi a.o. 2017; Johns-Putra 2016 and 2019).
This special issue sets out to investigate the integrative power of speculative fiction, focusing in particular on the intersection between literature and environmental sciences by focusing on the following key questions:
- How to conceptualize the role that narratives play in bringing the global scale of climate change into the realm of the personal?
- How do fictional narratives co-produce reality and contribute to the public debate, to governance or vice versa to (environmental) science? Are narratives indeed to be understood as means (‘productive fictions’) to encourage awareness and even foster behavioral change (‘risk related affect’, learning)?
- What narrative techniques (e.g., the use of metaphors, allusion or extrapolation) are used in both scientific and artistic discourse to envision the consequences of climate change? How do they differ in use, where do they overlap? How do both utopian and dystopian storylines relate to ‘eco-anxiety’ and the wish to go beyond eco-paralysis? How and why do utopian or dystopian future scenario’s manifest themselves within approaches from the different fields of study?
Researchers from literary and cultural studies with a focus on environmental humanities and sciences are invited to contribute full-length articles of approximately 8-10.000 words incl. footnotes and references. We particularly promote diversity in terms of theoretical frameworks and geographical contexts. We especially encourage non-English contributions (e.g. French, German, Spanish).
If you are interested in contributing, please send an email to ClimateNarratives@ou.nl by April 16th, 2021 including an abstract (ca. 250-500 words) and a short bio (max. 200 words). The outcome of the selection process will be communicated before May 9th, 2021. We are expecting completed contributions by December 1st, 2021 after which the journal’s peer review procedure will start. The issue is planned for Spring 2022.