In this collaborative series, three digital environmental humanities platforms—NiCHE, Edge Effects, and Correspondences—seek short essays, multimedia pieces, and other forms of public writing that engage questions of representation and access in the environmental “commons.”
Environmental activists and scholars have recently renewed calls to reclaim the “commons.” But what should be common and for whom? In this cross-platform series, “Commons for Whom?,” NiCHE, Edge Effects, and Correspondences will collectively grapple with questions of representation and access in environmental and ecological contexts. We invite short, written and multimedia pieces that explore the communities imagined and produced through discussions about public space, “wilderness,” and “natural resources.”
This series aims to investigate the role of identity, ethnicity, accessibility, and coloniality in the politics of the commons. We are inspired by initiatives such as Black Birders Week, Outdoor Asian, Latino Outdoors, Disabled Hikers, and Fat Babes in the Wild that seek to make outdoor recreation more accessible. More broadly, we are also interested in questions about how commons and communal spaces are established, challenged, and claimed/reclaimed. By asking “Commons for Whom?,” this series directly engages with the implicit “we” imagined in calls to reclaim and rebuild care-ful communities.
We welcome submissions on topics that can include but are not limited to:
- Histories and experiences of reclaiming of the outdoors as common or public space
- The meaning and value of “access” in a settler colonial context
- Efforts and movements that make greenspaces more inclusive for people who have historically been excluded from them
- The role of boundary crossing in maintaining environmental knowledge commons, communicating across academic/public spaces, collaborating across disciplines, and negotiating (more-than-)human relations
- Art and imaginative cultural production that reimagine possibilities of communal living
- Feminist critiques of capitalism and the politics of the commons
- “Uncommonalities” and negotiations of what is or should be common
Who can submit
Anyone is welcome to submit to this series. We are particularly excited to receive pitches from graduate students, postdocs, and early career scholars from a variety of disciplines, as well as work by practitioners and activists who work beyond academia’s walls. And we especially encourage submissions from writers of underrepresented identities. As the series theme, “Commons for Whom?,” aims to address equity and accessibility in conversations of the environmental humanities, we invite authors to consider their positionality in relation to the university, public, and environmental commons in drafting their pitches.
We’re looking to publish short essays between 1500-2000 words and multimedia pieces accompanied by brief (~250 word) introductions. Please note that our platforms aim to publish for interdisciplinary and public audiences. Accepted pieces will move through our editorial process with this in mind.
How to submit
- Pitches should be emailed to CommonsForWhom@gmail.com.
- In approximately 200-250 words, include the following in the body of your email:
- A summary of the piece, including its format and argument;
- A description of how you would make the topic and argument accessible both to familiar audiences and to those new to the topic.
Review of submission pitches will begin Monday February 13, 2023; we will stop accepting new submissions after Tuesday February 28. Accepted authors will be notified by Monday March 13.
This series will be published in early Summer 2023. Pieces may be published on any one of the three platforms—Edge Effects, The Otter ~ La Loutre, or Correspondences—at the discretion of the editorial team.
ASLE + AESS 2023
“Commons for Whom?” responds to the 2023 joint conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) and the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS), which invites scholars and researchers to engage in multidisciplinary presentation and collaboration around the topic of “Reclaiming the Commons.” We will share highlights from our series, as well as lessons learned about digital environmental humanities publishing through our collaboration, during a panel discussion at the ASLE + AESS 2023 conference, in Portland, Oregon.
About the Publications
Edge Effects is a digital magazine produced by graduate students at the Center for Culture, History, and Environment in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Committed to publishing across boundaries, Edge Effects features content in many formats and offers a wide array of content relating to environmental and cultural change.
Correspondences is a digital publication of Rice University’s Center for Environmental Studies. As a forum for the environment, Correspondences conceives of “correspondences” not only as reports or missives—letters sent from near or far in time or place—but also as the intense, felt connections and disconnections, the resonances of an overwhelming moment when complex histories and ambiguous futures collide.
The Otter ~ La Loutre is a blog published by the Network in Canadian History & Environment / Nouvelle initiative canadienne en histoire de l’environnement (NiCHE), a Canadian-based confederation of researchers and educators working at the intersection of nature and history. Blog posts on The Otter ~ La Loutre are produced in a range of styles and content types and explore the historical context of environmental matters and communicate their findings to researchers, policymakers, and the public.
Feature image: Photo by Kelly McKisson, 2023.
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