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Call for contribution Revue d'histoire de l'énergie 8 octobre 2017

"Light(s) and darkness(es)": Special issue of Journal of Energy History (JEHRHE)

Call for contribution Revue d'histoire de l'énergie
     If historians of art have generally investigated these complex dynamics between light and dark more than historians, light is still too often analyzed alone, without reference to darkness. For these reasons, this special issue of JEHRHE aims to challenge this reductionistic framework, which simplifies the complex variety of historical (and contemporary) cases, in order to explore the nuances of light and darkness created by candle, kerosene, oil, gas, and electricity and therefore tease out the diverse, sometimes contradictory, meanings and experiences of light(s) and darkness(es) in the past. We thus seek to study the juxtaposition of light and dark, placing this contrast in dialogue within broader conversations in the history of energy, environmental history, the history of technology, and related fields.

This call for papers is centered around four main questions:

    •    How are light and darkness in tension with one another, juxtaposed, and/or coexistent? Are the borders between light and dark stark, or are there examples in which these distinctions blur and fall apart?
    •    How did various factors (political, economic, cultural, geographical, environmental, technological, etc.) shape the understandings and experiences of light/dark in diverse contexts (urban/rural, metropole/colony, etc.) and for different social groups (class, gender, race, etc.)?
    •    How did (some) people and societies shift from fearing darkness and seeing it as a source of multiple dangers, to seeking out and valuing it?
    •    How can the examination of light(s) and darkness(es) invite new insights with respect to the history of energy, and vice versa? That is, how can the history of energy help illuminate, so to speak, our understanding of the complex relationships between light and darkness in diverse contexts? And how does the investigation of light(s)/darkness(es) raise new questions vis-à-vis the history of energy?

The geographical focus of this issue is purposefully broad in scale (from street to continent, and perhaps to the planetary), with the hope that comparative studies may yield wider insights into light(s), darkness(es), and their interrelated dynamics.


31 October 2017: Abstracts (300 words max.) for proposed articles and 2-pg cv in single pdf or Word document due to co-editors
30 November 2017: Editorial decisions regarding abstracts
15 March 2018: Submission of articles for peer review (6,000-7,000 words, including notes)
15 June 2018: Deadline for peer reviewers
1 September 2018: Revised article due
5 October 2018: Deadline for peer reviewers
15 November 2018: Final article due
January 2019: Special issue publication

Contact information: Stéphanie Le Gallic, Université de Bordeaux Montaigne (stephanie.legallic@orange.fr); Sara B. Pritchard, Cornell University (sbp65@cornell.edu)

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