Call: The Narrative Identity of European Cities in Contemporary Literature

Call for contributions for a special issue of Journal of Narrative and Language Studies

Deadline: 15th of January

Drawing on Paul Riccoeur’s theory of identity being considered in terms of narrative identity (Time and Narrative, 1984–88), one can argue that a city as a built and designed environment represents an entity that over time establishes a certain narrative identity that comes alive as a protagonist of its own ever-changing fiction.

The special issue of NALANS aims to give room to explore the urban narrative identities of European cities as they have been written in contemporary literature. In this call, we would like to define the term ‘contemporary’ as fiction that has been published in the last 20 years. The issue thus wishes to explore 21st-century fiction, playwriting and poetry that features the city as its (main) protagonist and as an element equally important as, if not even more than, its characters in the traditional sense. In doing so, we invite the submission of articles that place particular emphasis on urban narratives of cities or city neighborhoods that have often been overlooked until now, such as mid-sized European cities to explore their multiple narrative identities arising from but not limited to chronicles, generational novels, travel writing and other forms of literary texts.  

Further emphasis of the articles should be placed on the discourse and the language this identity is created by. Roland Barthes (1976) argues that “[a]t the moment of speech’s utterance, language finds itself at the service of power on two levels. On one level, speech is immediately assertive and demonstrative of authority. On another level, speech seeks to be recognized by the other and finds this in the repetition of signs.” Thus, we would like to receive studies that investigate further to what extent does the city itself speak, possibly through the author of its urban narrative?

We thus encourage scholars to submit papers of 5.000 to 7.000 words that investigate the following topics that are not by any means exclusive:

  • how the city speaks in urban narratives and how is its narrative identity shaped (by language, discourse, geography, timeline, content, text from etc.)
  • what function do memories and recollection of the past and present of a city have in shaping its narrative identity
  • investigations into the epistemology of urban writings
  • how does the urban narrative form a collective identity of the community and brings the members together?
  • urban places that are crucial in creating the narrative identity of a certain city (e.g. built heritage sites that speak such as hotels, cinemas, museums, historic cafes, statues, fountains, bridges, gardens, old universities, authors’/artists’ houses etc.) in literature
  • descriptions of events that shape the narrative identity of a city (incorporated narratives of national and international festivals, theatres, exhibitions, art installations, and fairs, routes, performances) in literary works
  • novels/plays/poetry thematizing the architecture, art history, urban development, urban design and planning

We invite submissions in form of abstracts of approx. 300 words to be submitted to no later than 15th January 2022. After an initial review of abstracts by the editors of the special issue, selected authors will be invited to contribute full-length (5.000-7.000 words) original research articles written according to APA 7th edition and adhering to standard NALANS guidelines for authors that can be found here guidelines . The deadline for full articles is 15th April 2022. The issue is expected to come out by the end of 2022.

NALANS (ISSN: 2148-4066), the Journal of Narrative and Language Studies is a peer-reviewed journal published by Karadeniz Technical University, with Editor-in-Chief Mustafa Zeki Çıraklı. The Journal is indexed in SCOPUS, MLA International Bibliography, DOAJ, The Linguist List, Google Scholar, DRJY, ASOS, Academic Resource Index, Turkish Education Index, SOBIAD. All other important information on the Journal can be found here: 

Issue Editors: Sonja Novak, Mustafa Zeki Çıraklı, Asma Mehan, Sílvia Quinteiro

Submission: Proposals (abstracts) should be sent to no later than 15th January 2022.


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