CFP: Gothic Ecologies in British Culture: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present

Call for Papers

Special Issue of the Journal for the Study of British Cultures (2/2020)

Gothic Ecologies in British Culture: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present

This projected special issue examines the nexus between Gothic forms of cultural expression, representations of the natural world, and ecological concerns from the eighteenth century to the present with a particular focus on British culture. Even though the Anthropocene is still a contested term used to denote our current geological era of human intervention in the biosphere, some critics date its beginning precisely to the historical moment that also saw the birth of the Gothic in the late eighteenth century – namely the advent of the industrial revolution in Britain.

The Gothic aesthetic in its many guises has always resisted and productively challenged the dichotomies between nature and culture that were erected in the realms of politics and the natural sciences. For this reason, Gothic media, texts, and artefacts are particularly apt at throwing into relief the networked relations between humans and the non-human (or more-than-human) sphere. We invite our contributors to build on recent interventions by theorists and philosophers (such as Jane Bennett, Timothy Clark, Philippe Descola, Timothy Morton, Jedediah Purdy and Kate Rigby) to enhance and complement the range of critical approaches regularly employed in literary and cultural studies. We hope that the insights of new critical directions such as object-oriented ontology and the new materialism can help us to review the relationships between humans, the natural world and non-human others in British Gothic cultures.

Possible topics might include (but are by no means limited to) the following:

  • climate change and Gothic representations of nature
  • Gothic others in representations of nature
  • Gothic tropes in ecocriticism
  • Gothic nature and dystopia/apocalypse
  • environmental and posthuman perspectives in Steampunk art
  • monstrosities and the grotesque in nature
  • the Gothic and the Anthropocene
  • the Gothic and/as anti-pastoral
  • eco-horror/eco-Gothic
  • uncanny returns of the natural non-human in human ‘civilisation’
  • Gothic technology and the environment

Please submit abstracts (400-500 words) and a short bio note by 1 June 2019 to both guest editors for this issue: Katharina Boehm ( and Stephan Karschay (

Finished articles (5,000 words) will be due by 1 November 2019.