This special issue seeks submissions that document, provoke, or imagine relations between humans, and between humans and nonhumans that go beyond and trouble normative categories of “nature,” “sex,” and “love.” These manifest, for example, in hierarchical, anthropocentric, hetero- and homonormative, monogamous, marriage-centric and other settler-colonial forms of kin, kind, and relating. Ideas of what is natural are always paramount in settler invocations of what are considered the right ways to relate. Our focus on indigenous (“traditional” and/or “resurgent”), queer, and other consciously critical forms of relating takes inspiration from innovative work within the potentially articulated fields of indigenous studies; feminist, queer, and trans theory; disability and crip studies; critical race studies; science studies; and performance studies. We are looking for submissions in which scholars, artists, and other thinkers interrogate normative, especially state-sanctioned forms of relating.

Possible topics to be addressed in the issue include, but are not limited to: 1) critical analyses and accompanying visualizations; 2) video; and 3) photographic representations of:

  • Material culture responses that interrogate dominant racial and/or sexual representations of particular bodies’ vis a vis relational norms.
  • Performance art responses that parody and/or imagine alternatives to state policies mandating compulsory forms of sexuality, marriage, family, and related forms of land tenure.
  • Analyses of scientific and/or technological knowledges that represent or categorize human or nonhuman bodies in hetero- or homonormative ways;
  • Visual representations and accompanying analyses of ecosexual or ecoerotic performance art, music, dance, or theater.
  • Treatments of ways in which “alternative” relationship models reinforce and/or subvert logics of privatization underlying dominant forms of relationality.
  • Imaginative theorizations and visualizations of friendship, community, and solidarity.
  • Explorations of embodied/corporeal dimensions of relationality beyond the entrenched naturalization of coupled family forms.

Submission Guidelines

Scholars, artists, and performers are encouraged to submit proposals for both visual and written work. We request submissions from: a) visual and performance artists who contextualize their work with academic-type analyses, and b) academics who use visual representations, including photography, other visual art, and video as part of their analyses. Artists and academics may want to co-author submissions. Potential authors should develop both a strong visual and analytical dimension (can be text or audio) for their submissions, although they do not have to be present in equal measure.

While it is not prescriptive, Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) concept of research-creation, may help conceptualize appropriate submissions: “An approach to research that combines creative and academic research practices, and supports the development of knowledge and innovation through artistic expression, scholarly investigation, and experimentation. The creation process is situated within the research activity and produces critically informed work in a variety of media (art forms).” (http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/programs-programmes/definitions-eng.aspx).

Proposals for submissions are due August 1, 2016. Proposals for written submissions should be approximately 500 words. Proposals for visual and video submissions should include a short sample of the work plus a 250-word description of the work and the analysis it offers. Accepted submissions will range from a combination of 2000-8000 words and 2-20 images, or video of no more than 20 minutes in length. Accepted submissions will be due January 15, 2017. In keeping with Imaginations’ mandate, submissions may include visual content as part of their argumentation rather than as simply supplemental material. Please include a 100 word abstract and a 100 word bio and send any images separately, as well as embedded in the submission, as high quality (300 dpi) files.

Send simultaneously to Kim TallBear (tallbear@ualberta.ca) and to Angela Willey (awilley@wost.umass.edu)