Special Issue 'Tropical Materialisms: poetics, possibilities, practices

Anita Lundberg's picture
Call for Papers
June 30, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Popular Culture Studies

Special Issue Theme: Tropical Materialisms: poetics, possibilities, practices

Tropical Materialisms concur on at least three things: humans are always entangled with non-human/material agents; such entanglement is necessary for any creative act to take place; and these same entanglements allow us to interrogate and re-evaluate preconceived notions about the world - from built and natural environments to the fabric of time-and-space.[i] 

This special issue aligns itself with the fields of critical posthumanism and new materialism. What is particularly exciting is the opportunity to rearticulate these fields in tropical terms, that is, with scholarly and creative practices from and about the tropical world. This focus is crucial given that the current scholarship in posthumanism and new materialism predominantly comes from European/temperate contexts and is informed by Western philosophies. In order to decolonize this ontological turn, the special issue recognizes not only that colonial knowledge systems impacted the tropics, but also that matter’s liveliness is understood within ‘animist materialism’. As such, this Special Issue welcomes materialisms informed by decolonizing intuitions.

"Tropical Materialisms” asks questions such as:

  • How can the tropics, both as a geographic zone and as pertaining to poetics (via "tropes"), theoretically inform and historically problematize new materialism and critical posthumanism? And, in turn, how can these fields also recalibrate tropical studies?
  • What particular terms from the tropics can be considered in relation to the growing vocabulary of new materialism and critical posthumanism? In other words, how can the languages of the tropics offer possibilities to revitalize the conversations in these fields?
  • What critical and creative material practices from the tropics can be instructive in thinking about these "tropical materialisms"? And in turn, how is new materialism and critical posthumanism influenced by traditional knowledges from the tropics?

This special issue looks at three things: theoretical engagements on new materialism and critical posthumanism; new vocabularies through which discourses on "tropical materialism" can be initiated; and varieties of practices across disciplinary fields which demonstrate what this "tropical materialism" may be. 

We accept writings in disciplinary genres (the scholarly and the creative), and encourage hybrid forms. We also seek submissions engaging material elements—photographs, videos, art, music. In short, we call for poiesis: “an active engagement with the world, which is always creative.”[ii]

CFP Tropical Materialisms

This CFP is open to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary intertwinings, as well as new perspectives on established disciplinary approaches. It invites papers that consider Tropical Materialisms through the poiesis and poetics of: sciences and literatures, histories and futures, realities and fictions, mythologies and technologies. It invites a wide range of articles and creative works from researchers who engage with the tropical regions of the world: tropical Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Indian Ocean Islands, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, the tropical north of Australia, Papua and the Pacific Ocean Islands, Hawai’i and the American South.

eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the Tropics publishes new research from Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and allied fields on the variety and interrelatedness of nature, culture, and society in the Tropics. ISSN:1448-2940, free open access; indexed in Scopus, Google Scholar, Ulrich's, DOAJ; archived in Pandora, Sherpa/Romeo; uses DOIs and Crossref; ranked Scimago Q1. 


  • Submissions close 30 June 2022 (full paper)
  • Publication date: October 2022
  • Research article submissions should be about 6000-8000 words
  • Literary, creative works and photographic essays about 4000 words
  • Article Titles should be concise and clear (maximum 2 lines)
  • Include a 100-200-word abstract of the article or creative work + 5 keywords
  • Provide a 100-word biographical note for each author (on separate sheet)
  • Strongly follow APA (edition 7) for in-text citations and reference list
  • Contributions should be submitted as a Microsoft Word file
  • Submissions must conform to the eTropic Style Sheet & Layout
  • All images must be used with permission and referenced
  • Submissions should be uploaded to eTropic online journal site
  • Suitable papers will be double-blind peer reviewed
  • Authors are requested to browse eTropic articles to make sure they are familiar with the journal’s multidisciplinary scope and style
  • eTropic website https://journals.jcu.edu.au/etropic/index
  • eTropic Call for Papers https://journals.jcu.edu.au/etropic/announcement
  • For enquiries, or for pitching your ideas or abstracts, email anita.lundberg@jcu.edu.au etropic@jcu.edu.au
  • Special Issue Editors: Anita Lundberg, James Cook University, Australia; Christian Jil Benitez, Ateneo de Manila University, The Philippines.

[i] Invoking, for instance, tropical time and space with tropical climate, literatures and local languages. See Benitez, C.J. (2021). On the Weariness of Time: El Niño in the Philippines. eTropic 20 (2), 209-220. https://doi.org/10.25120/etropic.20.2.2021.3819

[ii] Lundberg, A. (2008). Material Poetics of a Malay House. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 19 (1), p.2. Also noted is how “Material poetics explores the relation between the material world of artefacts, the environment and bodies; and the poetics of metaphor, creativity, imagination, dreams and mystery”. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1835-9310.2008.tb00102.x

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eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the Tropics

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