CFP: Climate Fiction and the Limits of Representation

Call for Papers

Climate Fiction and the Limits of Representation

Future Humanities Special Issue

Edited by Dr Caleb Ferrari and Dr Lenka Filipova

Climate fiction (cli-fi) has emerged as a crucial genre in literature, offering imaginative portrayals of climate change and its impacts on society and the environment. However, as the urgency of addressing the climate crisis intensifies, questions arise about the adequacy and limitations of representation within this genre. Criticisms have been levied against climate fiction for its tendency towards catastrophic and dystopian narratives, often relegating environmental disaster to a distant, futuristic scenario while ignoring its current manifestations, particularly in the Global South. Furthermore, the genre has been faulted for its anthropocentric focus, reinforcing the contentious notion of the ‘Anthropos’ in the discourse of the Anthropocene, which often centers on a white, Western human experience, excluding the variety of humans as well as the entanglement of humans with non-humans. This narrow focus overlooks the diverse ways in which different human communities across the globe experience and respond to climate change, while also neglecting the complex relationships between humans and the non-human world. Additionally, the emphasis on environmental literature alone disregards the interconnectedness of climate change with broader societal and cultural dynamics, as discussed in scholarly works exploring the concept of the ‘climate unconscious’, for example. Moreover, climate fiction’s reliance on the idea of future technology neglects the rich repository of knowledge found in indigenous epistemologies, which may offer alternative approaches to addressing environmental challenges. Finally, the genre has been criticized for its over-reliance on the importance of representation and creating awareness, particularly through literary fiction, as the mere act of depicting climate change may divert attention from urgent political action needed to address the crisis effectively.

This call invites submissions that engage with these and other critiques, examining how contemporary climate fiction navigates the complex terrain of representing climate change while also exploring alternative narratives, perspectives, and modes of storytelling that offer more inclusive and nuanced portrayals of ecological crises and human responses. We are specifically interested in perspectives presented through a variety of media, including fiction, creative nonfiction, film, visual art, digital platforms, street art, and artivism (artistic activism). Contributions should be drawn from interdisciplinary perspectives, including literary studies, cultural studies, environmental humanities, indigenous knowledge systems, anthropology, ethnography, economics and beyond, to deepen our understanding of the genre’s potential to inspire action and foster environmental awareness and advocacy.

Topics May Include:

  • How does climate fiction’s tendency towards catastrophic, apocalyptic and dystopian narratives influence public perception and understanding of the urgency of the climate crisis? What alternative modes of representation might be more effective in representing and communicating the climate crisis?
  • How do affect and emotion manifest in climate fiction narratives, and how do they shape readers’ perceptions and responses to the climate crisis? 
  • In what ways does the anthropocentric focus of climate fiction limit the representation of and engagement with a diverse range of human experiences? What means of representation help to alleviate this deficit, especially when it comes to representing the human experience with respect to intersectionality?
  • In what ways does the anthropocentric focus of climate fiction limit the representation and the interconnectedness of humans with the non-human world? What modes of engagement give the nonhuman greater attention (e.g. within and across different disciplines, such as economics, anthropology, and cultural studies)?
  • How might climate fiction address the tension between environmentalist conservatism, focused on preserving the environment (including the climate), and the necessity for radical change in politics and infrastructure? Which narratives effectively balance the imperative to protect life and ecosystems with the need for transformative action?
  • How can climate fiction narratives navigate the tension between environmentalism’s ‘green aesthetics’ and sustainable practices such as  urban densification, which often challenge conventional ideals of green living? How can these narratives effectively address reducing carbon footprints while respecting humanity’s yearning for connection to wilderness and wildness?
  • How does climate fiction either challenge or reinforce existing power structures and hierarchies?
  • How do indigenous representations of climate change compare with representations of indigenous knowledges in climate fiction?
  • How does the emphasis on representation in climate fiction impact the prioritization of political action needed to address the climate crisis effectively?
  • What role does contemporary artivism play in understanding climate change?
  • What roles can visual culture play in representing the climate crisis, in contrast with and/or in combination with narrative fiction?

Guidelines for Submission:

Please submit an abstract of 400-500 words and a short bio (100 words) by 31st May 2024. Abstracts and bios should be emailed to and Decisions about accepted abstracts will be made by 15th June 2024.

Final manuscripts should be between 6500 and 8500 words, following the journal author guidelines. The deadline for final papers: 15th November 2024.

Citer ce billet
Bénédicte Meillon (2024, 11 avril). CFP: Climate Fiction and the Limits of Representation. Écopoétique. Consulté le 27 mai 2024, à l’adresse

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