Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

European Journal of English Studies

For a Special Issue on

The Place of Race in Law & Literature

Abstract deadline
30 November 2023

Manuscript deadline
01 March 2024

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Andrew Benjamin Bricker, Ghent University
[email protected]

Cedric Essi, Osnabrück University
[email protected]

Elise Wang, California State University, Fullerton
[email protected]

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The Place of Race in Law & Literature

In both literary and legal scholarship, studies of race have long offered some of the most ground-breaking contributions, revealing how racial power structures both orient and subvert these fields. Yet the field of Law and Literature has been comparatively slow to centralize questions of race and race-making, often preferring to silo these issues off from the supposedly broader concerns of the field. Recent handbooks, essay collections, and anthologies, for instance, may include entries dedicated to race, while the remaining chapters continue to treat canonical literary texts or legal issues without acknowledging or reflecting on the complicated ways that race might inform those very objects of analysis, whether the law or literature, including pervasive forms of unstated whiteness. In such studies, a certain epistemological (power) paradigm is thus left intact, one that reproduces distorting universalisms about the law, about literature, and about the field of Law and Literature more generally. Our special issue moves beyond a conversation solely between law and literature, in which race is an add-on. Instead, our special issue takes race and its intersectional concerns in law and literature as its primary focus.

We welcome full-length articles (ca. 7,500 words) and shorter pieces (2-3,000 words). Both longer and shorter pieces might take the form of position statements, philological explorations, methodological elaborations, or meditations on material culture that center race. Contributors are invited to focus on the wider network of any work of literature written in English – broadly understood to include not only poetry, prose, and drama, but also film, television series, and graphic narratives, among many other forms. Contributors are especially encouraged to consider the intersections of race with queerness, gender, disability, class, and other issues. In explicitly locating race and its intersectional concerns at the heart of Law and Literature, our special issue seeks to centralize and return race to its rightful analytical place. 

In addressing the intersections of law, literature, and race, contributors might wish to consider some of the following topics (among many other potential options):

  • The racialization of literary and legal archives
  • White racial frames in and between law and literature
  • Critical Race Theory, and its affordances and limits within Law and Literature
  • The relationship between race and sexuality within law and literature
  • Constructions of racialized nation identities at law and in literature
  • The place of race in questions of disability justice
  • Race in testimony, alibi, and evidence in literature and in court
  • Rights discourse in law and literature 
  • Race and freedom of expression in law and literature

Submission Instructions

The European Journal of English Studies, the flagship journal of The European Society for the Study of English, uses a two-stage review process. The first is based on the submission of detailed proposals (up to 1,000 words) and results in invitations to submit full essays from which a final selection is then made. The deadline for essay proposals for this volume is 30 November 2023, with delivery of completed essays in the Spring of 2024, and publication in Volume 29 (2025).

Review Process:

  1. Contributors are invited to submit proposals for essays on the topic in question by 30 November 2023.
  2. Following review of the proposals by the editorial board panel, informed by external specialists as appropriate, the guest editors will invite the authors of short-listed proposals to submit full-length essays for review with a Spring 2024 deadline.
  3. The full-length essays undergo another round of review, and a final selection as well as suggestions for revisions are made. Selected essays are then revised and resubmitted to the guest editors in late 2024 for publication in 2025.

Detailed proposals of up to 1,000 words for full essays (7,500 words) or 500 words for shorter pieces (ca. 2-3,000 words) discussing a specific position, philological exploration, methodological elaboration, or relevant aspect of material culture – as well as a short biography (max. 100 words) – should be sent to all three of the guest editors by 30 November 2023: Andrew Benjamin Bricker ([email protected]); Elise Wang ([email protected]); and Cedric Essi ([email protected]). All inquiries regarding this issue can be sent to the three guest editors.

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