CFP: 'Otherlings,' or papers on the theme of the Other. (Journal Feature Topic: University of Sydney's Philament Journal.)

Pooja Mittal Biswas's picture
Call for Papers
May 16, 2021 to August 1, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Humanities, Languages, Literature


In the 2017 science fiction novel An Unkindness of Ghosts, nonbinary author Rivers Solomon depicts a conversation between two gender nonconforming characters. The protagonist, Aster, describes their friend Theo as “an anomaly of a man.” In response, Theo proposes, confidingly, that they are perhaps “not a man at all.” With this, Aster concurs: “Aye. You gender-malcontent. You otherling.” 

The history of the noun “otherling” is relatively short. Modern usage seems to have begun in the 1950s when the term appeared in sci-fi magazines such as Space Science, where it was used to describe a particular species (the “Otherlings”). Since then and into the twenty-first century, the word “otherling” has remained largely ensconced in sci-fi and fantasy literature, where it typically denotes a strange being with unique or exceptional qualities.   

With the theme “Otherlings,” this volume of Philament invites authors to reengage with the longstanding philosophical and theoretical formulation of the Other, defined as a being who is alien to the Self or as a figure who is excluded from dominant social structures. 

In the spirit of what Jacques Derrida called “paleonomy” (the “maintenance of an old name in order to launch a new concept”), the editors invite contributors to consider whether the use of a term like “otherling” (or other strategies) might reconfigure—or fail to reconfigure—notions of otherness and othering. Is othering destined to remain disempowering and violent? And, to paraphrase Gayatri Spivak, can the Other speak? Or are they always speechless?

Though the call for papers is broad and flexible, examples of topics of particular interest to the editors include the following:

— The colonial othering of Indian people in the literature of the British Raj
— Artificial Intelligence as other in science fiction
— Queerbaiting and the silencing or othering of queer voices in heteronormative literature
— Tokenism and postcolonial forms of othering in Western literature and narrative media
— The divine as eroticised other in religious fiction 
— Postcolonial othering of Indigenous Australians in Australian literature
— Reclamations of otherness in transpositive narratives (for example, in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Kinky Boots)
— The othering of female bodies and women’s pleasure in literature, including in Victorian-era erotica

All submissions must conform to the submission rules and guidelines outlined at


For article submission, the issue editors are inviting authors to submit abstracts before submitting full articles. Abstract submissions close June 1, 2021. We anticipate final essay-length article submissions will be due on approximately August 1, 2021. Other categories of submissions (excursions, reviews, etc.), may be submitted at any time by email to


If you are ready to submit your abstract, please navigate to

Contact Info: 

Christopher Rudge, Pooja Mittal Biswas and Djuna Hallsworth (editors)


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