Call for Proposals: Perma/Culture: Imagining Alternatives in an Age of Crisis
We are seeking proposals for an interdisciplinary anthology, tentatively titled “Perma/Culture: Imagining Alternatives in an Age of Crisis,” that will treat cultural production and practices related to “alternatives”—both critical and creative, descriptive and imaginative—that challenge the unjust and unsustainable systems that dominate at present. Though myriad social and cultural practices—from Transition towns to slow economies; permaculture design courses to CSAs—have offered examples for how to live differently, and though these practices have, in turn, inspired artists and writers (from southern Wisconsin’s “fermentation fest” to Patrick Jones’ “permapoesis”), few cultural critics have taken seriously the aesthetic, ethical, cultural, political, and ecological possibilities (and pitfalls) that these alternatives might entail, in part, perhaps, because of a (necessary) focus on critique, which is the legacy of cultural studies historically. Though we certainly do not eschew critique, we are looking for contributions that, presuming the background of crisis (economic, ecological, social, and cultural), turn critical and creative attention to what could be or, in some cases, is—those extant or emergent alternatives that exist alongside crisis—in order to address the question of the effectiveness (and affectiveness) of alternatives, whether on the small or large scale. To what degree are alternatives genuinely alternative? And how can alternatives avoid replicating the very structures (of political, social, ecological and economic injustice; of resource depletion and global crisis) they attempt to overturn?
We imagine the “cultural production” under consideration in the book to be broad, including anything from actual practices in the environment (like gardening) to blog posts; poetry, fiction, drama, essay; media (film, television); music; (performance) art; etc. Essays treating the history of “alternatives” are also welcome. And while we envision this as a scholarly book, we are open to the idea of including creative nonfiction, short fiction, and poetry as well.
Contributors might consider some of the following: Alternative energy sources (solar, wind, tidal); “appropriate” technologies; buen vivir; voluntary simplicity and the art of living; the commons and commoning; gleaning; intentional communities; permaculture; bioregionalism; fermentation (literal and/or figurative); seed saving; slow economies and alternative currencies; the internet and “the grid”; “back-to-the land” then and now; ecotopias; community gardens and food forests; environmental (in)justice and the politics of “alternative” movements.