Call for Papers

Narratives, Questions, and Challenges

Journal Issue Literature and Global Responsibility

Special Guest Editor: Stefano Bellin (University of Warwick)

Deadline for abstract submissions: October 1, 2022

Many of the problems of today’s world are global in nature and scope, and thus need to be approached in a global fashion. Yet, as the reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic shows, we struggle to think and act in truly global terms. This special issue will explore how literature can help us to develop a theoretical framework that enhances our understanding of global responsibility. ‘Global’ stands here both for worldwide and comprehensive: it draws attention to our global relations of interdependence and to the complex networks of actions and inactions that create the conditions of possibility for oppression.

Focusing on literary case studies that illuminate some of the most consequential forms of global violence and injustice (e.g., imperialism, the global border regime, racial discrimination, narcopolitics, exploitation, ecological degradation, etc.), this special issue aims to foster a debate on the macro-structures that enable and perpetuate global injustice as well as on the role of coalitions of individuals in propping up or fighting those forms of injustice. The goal is threefold: to explore which forms of literary writing are better suited to cultivate a sense of global responsibility; to debate how and to what extent ordinary citizens are responsible for large-scale forms of violence and injustice that, although vast and global in their nature, involve us in very tangible and material ways; and to discuss how our imagination can be engaged critically in order to come to terms and resist our own complicity with systemic violence and oppression.

The key questions that this special issue seeks to address are:

  • How can contemporary literature facilitate our critical and political engagement with forms of violence and injustice that are global in nature and scope?
  • How can contemporary literature help us to clarify and bring into focus the notion of ‘global responsibility’?
  • Which literary tools are more effective in developing our political imagination and sense of responsibility?
  • How can literature address the representational challenges posed by forms of violence and injustice whose causes are dispersed, incremental, and relatively invisible?
  • How much can we stretch the idea of responsibility – a concept that has its roots meaning in response, and a practice that involves political literacy, critical awareness, and situated thinking?
  • How can we develop a notion of responsibility that accounts for complex causality without losing political traction?

This special issue welcomes scholars working in all languages, geographical areas, and theoretical frameworks, and encourages proposals that take an interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary approach.

Suggested topics include both theoretical and comparative approaches to contemporary literature and avenues of research related to:

  • Literature and the questions of agency, accountability, and political responsibility (in the context of specific global issues)
  • Literature and the challenge of envisioning alterity across hierarchies of power • Literary tools, modes of textual engagement, and worldly ethics • Structural injustice and literary imaginations
  • Literature and systemic racism
  • Literature and international migration
  • Literature and decolonial thought/praxis
  • Literature and the legacies of collective violence
  • Literature and the Anthropocene/Capitalocene
  • Epistemic (in)justice and resistant imaginations
  • World literature and global justice

Timeline and Procedure

500-word abstract should be sent to by October 1, 2022.

The abstract should articulate:

1) include a 500-word abstract,  2) 5 keywords, 3) And a biographical note (200 words) that includes the author’s name, institutional affiliation, key publications, and research outputs / projects.

The selected abstracts will be included in a volume proposal that will be submitted for consideration to an international, peer-reviewed, top-tier journal.

Proposals and questions should be sent to and decisions will be communicated to the authors by December 10, 2022. Invited paper submissions will be due October 1, 2023 and will be reviewed by the guest editor and then submitted for blind peer review.

Please note that the acceptance of your abstract does not guarantee the publication of your article. The issue is scheduled for publication in late 2024.