Call for Chapters: Gonzo Journalism Beyond Thompson [with apologies for cross-postings]

Ashlee Nelson's picture
Call for Papers
August 23, 2015 to September 15, 2015
Subject Fields: 
Journalism and Media Studies, Literature



Fear and Loathing Worldwide: Gonzo Journalism Beyond Hunter S. Thompson


With an aim to discover what "Gonzo" means in relation to literary journalism around the world, submissions are invited for an edited volume, projected to be published in 2016.


For more than forty years, the radically subjective style of participatory journalism known as Gonzo has been closely associated with the American writer Hunter S. Thompson. Over time, however, the Gonzo label has occasionally detached itself from Thompson's person and work and been applied to the work of other journalists, some of them prior to Thompson and far from his hunting grounds. Around the world, literary journalists have long been approaching unconventional material in risky ways, often placing themselves in the middle of stories and relating their tales in the hyperbolic rhetoric associated with Gonzo. In some cases, Thompson’s influence is apparent, even explicit; in others, writers have crafted their journalistic provocations independent of their infamous American counterpart, only later to have that work labeled “Gonzo.”


Several studies and discussions of Gonzo and Gonzoesque journalism in various contexts, from Finland to Peru, have appeared in Literary Journalism Studies and other publications over the years as well as on the programs of the annual conferences of the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies. The time seems ripe to present an edited volume of such international Gonzo studies to discover what patterns and ideas of journalistic practice and agency emerge.


With this volume we want to examine the way Thompson's example serves as a – possibly both liberating and constraining – frame of reference around other journalistic troublemakers, who despite differences of nationality, gender, race, sexuality, and class, do seem equally determined to engage and shake up their readers and to challenge and destabilize the ethos of professional journalism.


Contributors to the volume are encouraged to approach “Gonzo” as an unstable signifier – powerful but notoriously vague – and to give special attention to the ways in which its meaning, and the works produced or read under that name, may differ with the various national, cultural, political, and journalistic contexts in which it is deployed.


Possible topics include but are not limited to


  • translating the Gonzo ethos into global practice
  • Gonzo, empire, and the anxiety of transnational influence
  • writers reading and misreading Thompson: adapting Gonzo in different national and cultural contexts
  • Gonzo and gender: women writers attracting and negotiating the Gonzo label
  • encouraging bad behaviour: publishing Gonzo-style journalism around the world
  • Gonzo avant la lettre: historical analogues
  • Gonzo and global countercultures

Expressions of interest should take for the form of a preliminary description (300-500 words) of the chapter you would like to contribute. Contributions from Asia, Central and South America, Africa, New Zealand, and Australia are particularly welcome.


Editors are Christine Isager (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and Rob Alexander (Brock University, Canada).


If interested, please e-mail Christine Isager at or Rob Alexander at

Deadline for Proposals: 

No later than September 15, 2015. After reviewing the chapter proposals, we will invite contributions. Deadline for completed chapters will be January 15, 2016.

Contact Info: 

Ashlee Nelson is the Publicity Chair for the IALJS and working with the organizers of this volume.

Contact Email: