Call for Papers

Announcing The Abeng: A Journal of Transdisciplinary Criticism
August 19, 2016
Some Reflections – Daniel Patte
March 17, 2017

Call for Papers

The Abeng: A Journal of Transdisciplinary Criticism (Winter 2018)

The Abeng is a peer-reviewed journal of transdisciplinary criticism published by the Institute for Signifying Scriptures. Published annually, The Abeng invites article and essay submissions that engage the theme of the ISS annual meeting. The 2017 meeting was dedicated to the theme of “Nation/State.”

We invite submissions that focus on any social-cultural complex or domain, including, but also going beyond, “religion,” as long as it is placed in relation to, or within the context of, the Nation/State. All disciplinary approaches and fields of inquiry are welcome. We encourage submissions that take up any pertinent problem, topic, practice or phenomena in any historical period, including the contemporary situation, in relation to the organizing theme.

The Abeng is named after and inspired by the call and response dynamic of maroons in the African diaspora, who used the abeng (an animal horn) to initiate and announce communal gatherings. To that end we initiate two “calls,” and invite responses to either.

  1. ISS Director Vincent Wimbush’s address on the Nation/State. This paper was presented at the annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is available to current members of the ISS through the online edition of The Abeng. A PDF of the address is available to non-ISS members upon request.
  2. Estampas of the Nation/State: Estampas are a genre of Latin American literary writing characterized by evocative prose that centers on a particular character and location imagined to be typical of a place and time. Often depicting saints, religious figures, or “typical” national characters, the term derives from mass-produced print images that have circulated in Latin America since the mid-19th century. Like the best photographs and figurative paintings, literary estampas show care of composition and high levels of detail that evoke deeper truths, and suggest intimate and surprising connections to the quotidian aspects of life. At the ISS meeting the estampa genre was used in one of our sessions to invite reflection on the complexities of the Nation/State and its influence over everyday forms of critique.

We invite submissions of this kind to continue that conversation. Submissions should be between 100 and 1000 words in length, and work as stand-alone pieces of writing.  The estampa can, and perhaps should, include a 100-150 word “setup” that contextualizes it. They should illuminate important aspects of scripturalization and the Nation/State, but not require further explication or exegesis. Submissions may reflect real people, places and events; or fictional (but plausible) ones. The editors encourage authors to experiment with the genre and topic to bring to the fore forms of criticism and points of view that aren’t always present or evident in academic writing.

An example of what might be done with an estampa is available on the ISS blog—the Gumbé (

We encourage both traditional and non-traditional academic submissions, and are open to a variety of approaches to this year’s theme, though we ask that all submissions make a good faith effort to “hear” one of these two calls and “respond” in kind. Essays should be no more than 6,000 words (exceptions will be granted if they are warranted), and follow standard Chicago citation.

Please direct all questions to C. Travis Webb:
Deadline for submissions: September 9th, 2017.

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