CFP: Happiness – A special issue of Writing from Below
Emergent research into happiness is still largely situated in fields such as sociology, psychology, and neuroscience. Traditionally the uncontested domain of the Humanities, the question of “How should we live?” is too rarely approached in contemporary literary and cultural studies. Indeed, even in a thriving field such as affect studies, research still largely focuses on negative emotions, ugly feelings (Ngai), shame (Probyn), paranoia (Sedgwick), failure (Halberstam), and the cruelty of optimism (Berlant). But perhaps the critical tide is turning. Scholars are beginning to theorise the end of our well-rehearsed “hermeneutics of suspicion,” and conjecturing what comes after (Felski). They are mapping the potential path for a “eudaimonic criticism” (Pawelski & Moore) and an “ethics of hope” (Braidotti), looking towards a more positive future (Muñoz). Critical and historical studies on empathy (Meghan; Keen), joy (Potkay) and happiness itself (Ahmed) are also emerging.
Inspired by the growing body of scholarship on optimistic representations of gender, sexuality, and queerness, Writing from Below enters the fray with this invitation to explore and interrogate positive, successful, fulfilling, life-affirming expressions of gender and sexuality in contemporary or historical literature, culture, and society.