Animal Narratology

A special issue of *Humanities* <> (ISSN

Dear Colleagues,

Storytelling is often cited as one of the characteristics that
distinguishes humans from animals; yet, a look at world literature reveals
many animals as the narrators of our tales. Animals speak not only in
fables and fairy tales, but also narrate novels, voice love poems, and
deliver philosophical treatises. Across genres and time, both wild and
domesticated animals give accounts of their lives and their worlds, which
usually contain human beings. Animal narrators negotiate their relationship
with humans, while defamiliarizing the human way of perceiving the world.
And yet, these texts are written by human authors who chose an animal
voice, a specific species, and a literary genre for a particular
purpose—one that tends to be as much, if not more about the human as it is
about the animal. In fact, analyses have predominantly focused on the human
side of these texts until the recent “animal turn” in literary studies.
This focus on the animal in literature vows to take the animal seriously,
which has been generating new readings and discoveries regarding texts from
the canon and beyond. Literary animal studies has the potential to reveal
the history of animal narration, such as clusters of animal species, type,
or even breed at certain times; to interrogate animal narrators’ appeals to
particular audiences, from children’s books to political satire; and to
uncover writers’ ways of avoiding censorship and persecution by channeling
an animal voice in their works. In addition, concepts from animal agency to
zoopoetics have increased the theoretical complexity of the investigation
of animals in literature and are connecting animal studies to some of the
concerns of fields such as environmental humanities, race and gender

However, studies of animal narration are still scant and scattered, and
there seems to be a need to close a perceived gap between classical
scholarship on animals in literature (such as, for instance, Theodore
Ziolkowski’s insightful 1983 genealogy of “philosopher dogs” in the Western
canon) and newer theoretical premises brought forth by literary animal
studies that petition for reading the animal as animal. There also appears
to be a perhaps problematic tendency toward taxonomy inherent in approaches
to both animals and narration that has yet to be addressed. This Special
Issue of *Humanities* on the theme of “Animal Narratology” therefore aims
to paint a fuller picture of animal narrators from various species, at
different times, and from a variety of literary traditions. The breadth of
this approach is to be supplemented with systematic considerations of the
specific texts and contexts, so as to account for larger developments
relevant to the literary history, genre, and narratological strategies
exemplified by each animal narrator. *Humanities* thus invites
contributions that bring together the close reading of texts containing
animal narrators with (a) theoretical deliberations about narratology (such
as dialogism, diegetic levels, empathy, focalization, framing, graphic
storytelling, metaphoricity, realism, reliability, representation,
serialization, simultaneity, structure, suspense, symbolism, etc.) and (b)
relevant questions of ethics, religion, race, gender, sexuality, history,
philosophy, sociology, science, and the arts. Texts from literature in any
language are welcome (with translation), and an even distribution of
Western and non-Western literature is desired.

*Articles will be due January 1, 2017 and should be between 6000 and 8000
words in length. Interested contributors should send a proposal of 250–500
words with a short bio or their CV to the guest editor, Dr. Joela Jacobs,
at [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]> by July
20, 2016. *You will be notified of your preliminary acceptance (subject to
peer review of the completed article) within two weeks, and questions are
welcome at any time. *Humanities *is an international, peer-reviewed,
quick-refereeing scholarly open access journal with a focus on the core
values of the Humanities. There is no article processing fee, and this
special edition is slated to appear both online and in book format (e-book
and print on demand). Please go to
for more information.

Thank you for spreading the word!

Joela Jacobs
*Guest Editor*

Dr. Joela Jacobs
Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of Arizona
Affiliated Faculty at the Institute of the Environment, the Center for
Judaic Studies, and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies

Learning Services Building
3rd Floor, Office 306
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The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
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