This Special Issue of Humanities calls for papers on twenty-first-century Brooklyn fictions. By “Brooklyn Fictions,” I mean novels and short stories set wholly or partly in New York City’s most populous borough, and ones that explicitly engage with Brooklyn’s neighbourhoods as distinctive communities. Although it has become a commonplace to declare, often ruefully, that “Brooklyn has changed,” the specific texture of those changes is worthy of close consideration. Brooklyn, “a small town in the world city,” has seen virtually all of its diverse neighbourhoods undergo gentrification since the 1960s, and a borough that has in the popular imaginary prided itself on a down-home, neighbourly authenticity at odds with the flinty-eyed aspiration of Manhattan now finds itself almost as expensive and as inaccessible to lower-waged populations as its rival across the water. Contemporary Brooklyn fictions inevitably engage with these economic, social and demographic transformations, and they do so from a wide variety of perspectives, reflecting the diversity that still exists, but is widely perceived as being under threat. Brooklyn has become a test case for literary investigations of, among many other issues: local and global relations, definitions of multiculturalism, class antagonisms, and the commodification of the very idea of neighbourhood.
Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:
- representations of the lived experience of gentrification
- the effects of “supergentrification”
- local and global relations (or “glocalisation,” if you prefer)
- historical Brooklyn fictions
- genres of Brooklyn fiction, popular forms (e.g. detective thrillers)
- mobility, selfhood and place; Brooklyn as a transnational space
- competing conceptions of “authentic” neighbourhood living
Proposals from postgraduate researchers and early career scholars are warmly welcomed
Abstracts of 150–200 words, along with 150–200-word bios, should be submitted by 31 May 2020.
Completed articles of 5000–7000 words should be submitted by 31 December 2020.