This issue will allow writers, scholars and poets to probe the different types of violence: from linguistic to domestic; institutional to historical, against humans and against animals, that have plagued, and continue to plague, Australia’s cultural landscapes.  

Southerly is looking for fiction, poetry, memoir and essays on the theme of violence: personal, cultural, national, global, literary. There is too much source material. We are interested in spectrums of violence from the accidental and the careless to ruthless strategy.

We are also interested in the relationship between literature, writing and violence: Jason Mohaghegh has written of the “chaotic imagination” and the “will to cruelty” in some new literatures; Maurice Blanchot has mapped the relationship between literature and disaster. How does violence force the re-assemblage of the relationship between the fundamental elements of literary construction – specifically, time and narrative, place and description, rhetorical figuration, characterization and tone? How has literature been deployed to shape our understanding of violence, both to highlight and to normalise its operations?

In his book Violence, Slavoj Žižek offered the following insight: ‘At the forefront of our minds, the obvious signals of violence are acts of crime and terror, civil unrest, international conflict. But we should learn to step back, to disentangle ourselves from the fascinating lure of this directly visible ‘subjective’ violence, violence performed by a clearly identifiable agent. We need to perceive the contours of the background which generates such outbursts. A step back enables us to identify a violence that sustains our very efforts to fight violence and to promote tolerance.’

Submissions close 31 October, 2018.


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