Radical Histories of Sanctuary, Call for Proposals (Radical History Review)

Thomas Harbison's picture
Call for Papers
February 1, 2018
New Jersey, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Human Rights, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Political History / Studies, World History / Studies

Radical Histories of Sanctuary
Issue number 135 (October 2019)
Abstract Deadline: February 1, 2018
Issue editors: A. Naomi Paik, Rebecca Schreiber, and Jason Ruiz

The Radical History Review seeks submissions on the concept of sanctuary. We are interested in work that converses with current discussions across fields and historicizes the concept’s lineages within religious, political, and legal histories and in relation to social movements that have contested (and have been persecuted for contesting) governmental and non-governmental violence. What does it mean–and what has it meant–to evoke the term “sanctuary”? While sanctuary’s significance has been raised in the context of contemporary immigrant activism, it encompasses a longer history that can be traced back centuries across geographic areas in service of widely distinct groups. Its use ranges from biblical times and medieval Europe to US abolitionist movements against slavery to the protection of people persecuted by the Nazi regime, but it can also include the harboring of Nazis after WWII, anti-government militia movements, and other reactionary, right-wing deployments. Sanctuary is also central to ideas of nature preserves and protected zones for animals. Across these instances, the invocation of sanctuary draws on alternative sources of authority in its efforts to protect the targeted. It thus reveals tensions between overlapping jurisdictions and competing authorities (between the church and state, the home and state, or private and public property, for example).

This issue seeks to think through the connections and dissonances of sanctuary by examining the deep histories of its use in a comparative framework. Under what particular conditions and for whom or what is sanctuary invoked? What are the relations among its different iterations? How does the term’s etymological roots in biblical traditions affect its use and meaning over time, as it is taken up in secular contexts? What tensions emerge between the symbolic and legal meanings in particular invocations of sanctuary? How might sanctuary enact alternative forms of social and political membership in a community? How might it in turn exert its own violence or produce its own exclusions? While we emphasize historical scholarship from all periods and geographies, we also seek work that speaks to religious and legal studies, as well as methods focusing on the built environment, architecture, and cultural productions.

Potential topics include:

  • The tradition of sanctuary within diverse religious histories and philosophies
  • Representations of sanctuary in art, literature, film, and other media
  • Political exiles, refugees, asylum, extradition
  • Gendered meanings and uses of sanctuary
  • Sanctuary and private or domestic spaces (the home as a sanctuary; refuges from sexual and domestic violence)
  • Sanctuary movements (Underground Railroad, abolition, immigrant and refugee rights movements)
  • The built environment and architecture of sanctuary spaces
  • Sanctuary for animals, nature, and non-humans
  • The relationship of sanctuary to concepts of refuge and “safe space”
  • Right-wing uses of sanctuary
  • Sanctuaries created by targeted communities for themselves

The RHR publishes material in a variety of forms. Potential contributors are encouraged to look at recent issues for examples of both conventional and non-conventional forms of scholarship. We are especially interested in submissions that use images as well as texts and encourage contributions with strong visual content. In addition to monographic articles based on archival research, we encourage submissions to our various departments, including:

  • Historians at Work (reflective essays by practitioners in academic and
    non-academic settings that engage with questions of professional
  • Teaching Radical History (syllabi and commentary on teaching)
  • Public History (essays on historical commemoration and the politics of the
  • Interviews (proposals for interviews with scholars, activists, and others)
  • (Re)Views (review essays on history in all media–print, film, and digital)

Procedures for submission of articles: by February 1, 2018, please submit a 1-2 page abstract summarizing the article you wish to write as an attachment to contactrhr@gmail.com with “Issue 135 Abstract Submission” in the subject line. Authors will then be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article for peer review. The due date for full-length article submissions will be June 1, 2018. Please send any images as low-resolution digital files embedded in a Word document along with the text. If chosen for publication, you will need to send high-resolution image files (jpg or TIFF files at a minimum of 300 dpi) and secure permission to reprint all images. Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 135 of Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in October 2019.

Abstract Deadline: February 1, 2018
Contact: contactrhr@gmail.com

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