Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa

For a Special Issue on

Literature, Activism, and Human Values: Then and Now  

Abstract deadline
15 February 2024

Manuscript deadline
15 June 2024

Cover image - Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa

Special Issue Editor(s)

Goutam Karmakar, University of the Western Cape, South Africa and Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich, Germany
[email protected]

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Literature, Activism, and Human Values: Then and Now  

Literature in South Africa of the 1970s and 1980s—both the creative work and the critical work—manifests what Louise Bethlehem described as a ‘rhetoric of urgency’. Forms of realistic and symbolic representation were often aligned, respectively, in evaluations of political responsibility and political irresponsibility. Nadine Gordimer’s anti-apartheid fiction, for example, was set in opposition to J. M. Coetzee’s metafictional critiques of authoritarian orders.

Questions arose in the contest. Had the demands of the time—the violent end-years of apartheid—curtailed the search for imaginative expression? Had the significance of the context superseded the significance of the literary text? Had the authority of experience rather than its transformation into an art object become the locus of power? That was then. What of now? The demands of locality (embedded in Black Consciousness) gave way in the 1990s—at least in South African literary-academic circles—to a different, more indirect form of activism: the ‘deconstruction’ of French anti-humanism. Not the activism of the barricades but the activism of critique. Accordingly, Gordimer’s mimetic, anti-apartheid novels surrendered centre concern to Coetzee’s intricate metafictions.

The ‘theme’ of Current Writing 36(2) 2024, ‘Literature, Activism, and Human Values', invites contributions on the literary work and/or its interpretation to engage with the politics of power, whether in relation to the past, whether local or global, whether focused on race, gender, class, the environment, inequality, or precarity.

Considering activism and human values within the discourse of reading literary narratives, this issue seeks to address the convergence of literature and activism in contemporary global literature. The aims and objectives of this issue encompass social justice within the framework of bioregionalism and investigate the evolving culture of literary activism in response to diverse social, political, and global movements, as well as instances of injustice, the climate crisis, human rights violations, and the deterioration of human values.

Submission Instructions

Abstracts should be around 500 words long (excluding bibliography and in accordance with the journal's referencing style i.e. the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., author-date) and should be sent to the special issue editor, Goutam Karmakar ([email protected]), with a copy to the Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Dr. Michael Chapman ([email protected]), no later than February 15, 2024. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the special issue editor.

Full papers should be within 7,000 words in length (including an abstract and list of works cited) as per the author submission guidelines for Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa.

Submission of full manuscripts: 15 June, 2024.

Expected publication date: Current Writing, Volume 36, issue 2, 2024.

Instructions for Authors