Call for Proposals (Edited Volume): Plants and Animals in Latin American Cultures

In recent years there has been a growing interest in bringing closer together the fields of critical plant studies and critical animal studies. Scholars have described their distinct but interrelated origins, noting the earlier attention non-human animals received from the humanities and the more recent growth in plant-centered work. This edited volume is an effort in such a direction, taking Patrícia Vieira and Susan McHugh’s following questions as a point of departure: “What can animal studies scholars learn from current plant research and vice versa? How do studies that encompass both plants and animals (and, potentially, other living and non-living forms of existence) enrich our understanding of our planet in all its diversity?” (“Why Plants and Animals?”). In particular, we want to explore how Latin American cultural productions could help us reevaluate, in both fields and their junctures, “[p]rinciples of ethics, aesthetics, poetics, agency, cognition, intentionality, communication, and language” of nonhuman life forms (Gagliano et al., The Language of Plants xvi). Among other things, we seek to examine how the representations of plant systems and animal life entice us to imagine a world without borders, highlight connections between plants and animals and visual practices, and consider the ethical and aesthetic implications of anthropomorphizing nonhuman experiences. It will also push us to pose questions on plant and animal geographies and temporalities, and how these shape and challenge human ways of knowing. Moreover, by focusing on plants and non-human animals in Latin America, we strive to show the profound interspecies entanglements in the region’s past, present, and future.

We invite scholars working in Latin American art histories, cultural studies, film and media studies, literary studies, theater and performance studies, visual studies, and other relevant humanistic fields to submit proposals related to topics including, but not limited to:

  •     Human-nonhuman animal relationships, alliances, encounters, conflicts, and entanglements
  •     Decolonial approaches to animals and plants
  •     Studies on pets, stray animals, leisured animals, unwelcomed/invasive species, and plagues
  •     Languages of plants and animals
  •     Plant and animal life, reproduction, illness, and death
  •     Plants and animals in science fiction, climate fiction, and other speculative genres
  •     Race in critical animal and plant studies
  •     Medicinal animals and plants
  •     Plants and animals in science
  •     Plant and animal superstition and magic
  •     Animal liberation and ethics
  •     Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies
  •     Feminist and queer ecologies
  •     Practices of more-than-human care
  •     Disability studies and critical animal and plant studies
  •     Posthumanist examinations of plants and animals
  •     Ecocritical approximations to plant and animal survival in the Anthropocene
  •     Animals and plants in the colonial Americas  
  •     Representations of plants and animals in early indigenous cultural production
  •     Plant and animal trade and displacement
  •     Plant and animal counter visualities  
  •     Native plants and animals in the diaspora
  •     Plants, animals, and migrations

We especially welcome proposals with a transhistorical and interdisciplinary approach to critical plant and animal studies.

Authors should submit abstracts of their proposed chapters (approx. 500 words), a preliminary bibliography, and a short biographical paragraph (approx. 150 words) of each contributing author no later than April 30, 2023, to Cristina E. Pardo Porto and Oscar A. Pérez. Accepted abstracts will be included in a book proposal to an academic press to be submitted by June 2023. 

Contact Info: 

Cristina E. Pardo Porto (Syracuse University)
Oscar A. Pérez (Skidmore College)