23 Mar ‘Wandering’
Call for Papers: ‘wandering’: Edited by Kate Cantrell, Ariella Van Luyn, Emma Doolan: M/C Journal
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘wandering’ as ‘going about from place to place; an aimless, slow, or pointless movement; and a shift away from the proper, normal, or usual course’. Wandering, as both a physical movement and a conceptual metaphor, can transcend the boundaries between past and present, the real and imagined, the centre and the periphery, the virtual and the actual, the human and the non-human, the private and the public, and the finite and the boundless. Wandering, by its nature, signals a shift away from linear modes of operating to a more colourful vista of experimentation, repetition, spontaneity, play, and general misrule. Historically, wanderers have been transgressive subjects who at different times have been both revered and feared, appreciated and misunderstood, and rewarded and punished for their alleged risk-taking, vagrancy, and aimlessness. Like the exile, the wanderer represents the ghost of modernity who is uprooted from home and perpetually displaced in space and time. However, not all experiences of wandering are the same.
The experience of a refugee who wanders in search of a safe place to call home is different to the experience of a traveller who elects to wander while on holiday. Therefore, wandering is both an alternative mode of subjectivity and an apt metaphor for different ways of thinking, knowing, and being. Ingrid Horrocks, in her recent book, Women Wanderers and the Writing of Mobility(2017), explains: “To be a wanderer is not quite the same as being a traveller: wandering assumes neither destination nor homecoming. The wanderer’s narrative tends to work by digression and detour rather than by a direct route. Wanderers, and their narratives, are always in danger of becoming lost. A wanderer is also someone who moves from place to place encountering a series of different people, making her a natural vehicle for explorations of sympathy and sociability, social exclusion, and loneliness.”
Wandering, as Horrocks notes, is not always voluntary. People with dementia can be prone to wandering, as can children with autism. The expression ‘to have a wandering eye’ is an idiom that highlights the intersection between gendered mobility and morality. In Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798), wandering is a curse that haunts the Mariner and takes it shape as a longing that he can never satisfy or fulfil. Wandering refuses to assign meaning to a single locus and instead encourages us to consider ideas and practices that are fluid, pluralistic, and intuitive. This special issue on ‘wandering’ will explore current and emerging research on wandering practices and behaviours, methodologies, texts, and technologies.
Areas of investigation may include but are not limited to:
- Wandering and the body
- Wandering and the environment
- Wandering and new/emerging technologies
- Wandering and tourist cultures, images, and identities
- Wandering and migration, immigration, and refugeeism
- Wandering and mobility
- Wandering and diaspora
- Wandering and concepts of home and homelessness
- Wandering and urban spaces
- Wandering and philosophy, including morality
- Wandering and cartography, psychogeography, and affective geography
- Wandering in art, literature, and film
- Wandering in indigenous cultures and contexts
- Wandering in time
- Wandering between genres
- Wandering as a literal, textual, physical, or imaginative phenomenon
- Wandering as a form of protest, resistance, or ‘promiscuous’ behaviour
- Wandering problems and stereotypes
Prospective contributors should email an abstract of 100-250 words and a brief biography to the issue editors. Abstracts should include the article title and should describe your research question, approach, and argument.
Biographies should be about three sentences (maximum 75 words) and should include your institutional affiliation and research interests. Articles should be 3000 words (plus bibliography). All articles will be refereed and must adhere to MLA style (6th edition).
Please send any enquiries to [email protected].