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Call for Papers: Issue 38: Ecologies of Excess

Published onDec 13, 2023
Call for Papers: Issue 38: Ecologies of Excess

Glass vases floating along the shoreline of a beach.

Issue 38 - Ecologies of Excess

*Deadline Extended: Submissions due May 31st, 2024, to [email protected]

To theorize ecology is necessarily to contend with excess, whether that be in the form of unceasing material production or in the forms of social and theoretical remainders. In order to grapple with the excess of agencies at work in the more-than-human world, contemporary theories of ecology often appeal to tropes of darkness, “chthonic ones,” monsters, and ghosts (Morton, 2016; Haraway, 2016; Tsing, Swanson, Gan, and Bubandt, 2017). By betraying a sense of wonder, these tropes attest to our phenomenological, affective, and discursive bewilderment in the face of what is unknowable and seek to account for that excess by distributing agency beyond the epistemological frameworks of “the human.”

At their best, these haunting rhetorical figures not only foreground affect but help make visible what has been repressed or rendered disposable in the Anthropocene. However, when such tropes are deployed to advance theories of ecology as agentic entanglements of vitalist “thing-power” (Bennett, 2010) or withdrawn “hyperobjects” (Morton, 2013), they risk reinscribing a flat ontology that too easily elides questions of political and social responsibility—once again, leaving urgent matters of ecology in excess (Horton and Berlo, 2013; Gamble, Hanan, and Nail, 2019; Zorach, 2018; Cole, 2023).

Ultimately, recourse to tropes of hauntedness speaks to the perennial problem of representation and epistemological certainty about what comes to matter within regimes of visuality—concerns inherent to visual culture, particularly with regard to Anthropocene visuality (Mirzoeff, 2011; 2014). Given the unevenness of anthropogenic climate change, the visualization and (in)visibility of waste, pollution, surplus populations, and the socially abject require a critical vocabulary that forces confrontation with what haunts us. Therefore, we propose “excess” as a guiding principle for an ecocritical approach to visual culture: How is excess, particularly with regard to ecological crisis, visualized in art and media, and to what ends? What excesses have been accounted for in the ecocritical turn? What excesses have yet again been pushed to the periphery?

With these questions in mind, for our 38th issue, Invisible Culture seeks articles and artworks that address the visualization of excess in/of ecologies. On the table here, or in the garbage bin as it were, are considerations of excess both as a consequence of the particular intellectual history of ecocriticism and its intersections with new materialism(s), or as principally physical remains. We welcome submissions related to, or in critical excess of, the following topics and themes:

  • Audiovisual, cinematic, and televisual representations of excess in/of ecologies

  • Excess & ecology in global contemporary visual culture

  • Excessive (marginalized or othered) bodies & populations

  • Waste aesthetics & waste infrastructure

  • Excess of time beyond anthropocentric temporality

  • Black ecologies

  • Queer ecologies

  • Economies of extraction

  • Discard studies

  • Ecomedia studies

  • Food systems studies

  • Toxicity & pollution


Please send completed papers (with references following the guidelines from the Chicago Manual of Style) of between 4,000 and 10,000 words to [email protected] March 15, 2024. Inquiries should be sent to the same address.

Creative/Artistic Works

In addition to written materials, InVisible Culture accepts works in other media (video, photography, drawing, code) that reflect upon the theme as it is outlined above. Please submit creative or artistic works along with an artist statement of no more than two pages to [email protected]. For questions or more details concerning acceptable formats, go to or contact the same address.


InVisible Culture is also currently seeking submissions for book, exhibition, and film reviews (600-1,000 words). For this issue we particularly encourage authors to submit reviews of games or other forms of interactive media. To submit a review proposal, go to or contact [email protected].

About the Journal

InVisible Culture: A Journal for Visual Culture (IVC) is a student-run interdisciplinary journal published online twice a year in an open access format. Through double-blind peer-reviewed articles, creative works, and reviews of books, films, and exhibitions, our issues explore changing themes in visual culture. Fostering a global and current dialogue across fields, IVC investigates the power and limits of vision.

Each issue includes peer-reviewed articles, as well as artworks, reviews, and special contributions. The Dialogues section offers timely commentary from an academic visual culture perspective and announcements from the editorial board.

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