Call for Papers

Otherness: Essays and Studies 7.1

The peer-reviewed e-journal Otherness: Essays and Studies is now accepting submissions for a special issue, forthcoming Spring 2019 – “Otherness and the Urban”


Edited by Maria Beville, this issue seeks to publish research articles from and across different scholarly disciplines that examine, in as many ways as possible, the concepts of otherness and alterity as these relate to the experience and representation of the city. 


The city is a unique and subjective space. It is fragmented and indistinct. It is at once place and text: to walk the city is to read it. In ‘Semiology and Urbanism’ (The Semiotic Challenge), Roland Barthes notes that the city is a discourse and a language: ‘[t]he city speaks to its inhabitants, we speak our city, the city where we are, simply by inhabiting it, by traversing it, by looking at it’. However, in this discourse, there exists ‘a conflict between signification and reason, or at least between signification and that calculating reason which wants all the elements of the city to be uniformly recuperated by planning’. Our desire to map the city is a desire to map the self: an impossibility that constantly reminds us of our own inherent Otherness.


In this way the city is multivalent. It is both the location and the sign of the Other. And rather than merely existing as a physical place, the city is experience; individualised and multiplied in its alterity. While the city exists as a place to be read and is unique in every individual reading, it is also a place to be written, inspiring writers, artists, and thinkers to become lost in city streets and locales as they struggle to find new ways to meet the challenge of representing the unrepresentable.


Thus, the city is where the subject and space become intertwined. While the city becomes part of the subject and the subject a part of the city, urban space in its resistance of representation remains a constant challenge to notions of self, of sameness, of homogeneity. The city is therefore bound to exist in tension with identity, both individual and collective. Just as is the case with the self, there can be no cohesive vision of the city because the city not only resists mapping, it resists unified narrative in its flux; in its phantasmagoria.


And yet the otherness of the city remains a part of the definition of urban selfhood and understanding this is best achieved through a balanced view of the city’s physical and metaphysical dimensions. No examination of the textuality of the city should overlook the materiality of the city and its impact on the city experience. City design, city building, city governance and city use form the structures of the city which carry and mediate its otherness.


This issue seeks to develop a collective of research papers which examine the otherness of the city and the Other in the city.


Topics may include, but are not limited to:


·         The city as other in literature/ Otherness in the city in literature

·         Otherness and the philosophy of the city

·         Urban aesthetics and otherness

·         Twinned cities

·         Hybrid cities

·         Haunted cities

·         Folklore and otherness in the city

·         Globalisation, otherness and the urban

·         The uncanny city (in literature, art, film, media)

·         The politics of alterity in the city

·         Otherness in the postcolonial city

·         The postmodern city

·         The Gothic city

·         Minority urban experience (in literature, art, film, media)

·         Urban Otherness and popular culture



Articles should be between 5,000 – 7,000 words. All electronic submissions should be sent via email with a Word document attachment formatted to the Chicago Manual of Style standards. Please send submissions to the editor, Maria Beville at


The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 28, 2018.


*Barthes, Roland. ‘Semiology and Urbanism.’ In The Semiotic Challenge, translated by Richard Howard. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988. P191-201.

General Submissions

Scholars are always welcome to submit articles within the scope of the journal for consideration for our next general issue.  We anticipate a general issue to come out in the Autumn of 2019.  

Please address any inquires to Matthias Stephan: