English Studies in Canada: Research Cluster Call for Possibilities
- Have you ever thought up an idea that brought you joy and excitement, only to disband it as too impractical or ambitious?
- Have you ever given up on a great idea because you didn’t have time to pursue it or thought that no one would fund/publish it?
- Have you ever conceptualized a daring project but never shared it for fear of overly harsh criticism?
- What would you do if you had unlimited time, resources, and support for a scholarly, research, or creative activity?
This call for possibilities seeks to inspire a culture of creativity in English studies and related fields by challenging administrators, alumni, scholars, students, and teachers to share their dream visions for scholarly, research, and creative activities.
Wield 2000-2500 words to imagine, pitch, propose, dramatize your most wonderful idea and disseminate it via a special research cluster published in English Studies in Canada.
A culture of hyper-criticality in the humanities encourages conformity and dismisses new ideas. Criticality is indeed essential to everything we do but when unfettered it crushes creativity, boot stomps wonderfully new possibilities, and diminishes the joy of everyday life.
There are also substantial systematic challenges presented by the neoliberalization of higher education that thwart creativity. Funding cuts have diminished access to resources. The gigification of academic labour has broken the fundamental links between research, service, and teaching. Post-secondary policy now prioritizes measurable economic outcomes. Add in a global pandemic and existential anxiety from environmental catastrophe, and you got a frustrated, burnt-out, and hopeless community. Facing so many intersecting bummers, it seems all that one can do is retreat to a comfy couch with coffee, quilt, and literature, and hope that, somehow, a resurrected humanities will emerge.
Transformative change begins with acts of imagination.
There are truly incredible futures for English studies (or pasts and presents, for time travel is mundane in the world of imagination) but we need to nurture and celebrate new ideas to manifest possibilities in the real world. In doing so, we can change the culture of English studies to place criticality and creativity in newfound balance, bring joy to our everyday practice, and perhaps save the humanities.
Submissions are due by 1 July 2022. Please email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are to be no longer than 2500 words. Beyond that, there are few restrictions: pursue a genre that brings you joy and that readers can understand and appreciate (please see English Studies in Canada’s author guidelines for house style etc.)