Call for Papers: St. John’s University Humanities Review Spring 2021 Issue

Call for Papers: St. John’s University Humanities Review Spring 2021 Issue

St. John’s University Humanities Review


“Time in the Time of COVID-19: The Relationship Between Time and Distress”

Deadline for Abstracts: December 19th, 2020

Deadline for First-Draft Submissions: January 23rd, 2021

Editor: Stephanie Montalti

Contact Email:

Has time seemed to slow down? Do you feel like you have “lost” time or, perhaps, “lost track” of time during quarantine? COVID-19 has disrupted our daily routines and has altered our future plans. While time continues to be marked by the hour, day, and calendar month, our perceptions of time may have changed. Whether we spend our time with new hobbies or reminiscence about the past, time has made an impression on our consciousness. This issue seeks to draw a parallel between our lived experiences of COVID-19 and literature about death, disease, heart-ache, trauma, war, and other circumstances that distort time. While medical conditions and drug use may cause time compressions and dilations, we may also consider smaller scale changes in our understandings of time. We invite articles, essays, poetry, book reviews, and artwork submissions about time during distress. The Oxford English Dictionary defines time, as a noun, as “a finite extent or stretch of continued existence, as the interval separating two successive events or actions, or the period during which an action, condition, or state continues.” Since the OED predicates time on existence, personal reflections on COVID-19 or comparisons to historic plagues and pandemics are also welcome; submissions need not focus on COVID-19, specifically. This topical issue intends to recognize the ways COVID-19 has influenced our lives as artists, educators, writers, and readers and has heightened our senses of abstract phenomena, like time. Attention may be drawn to literary and visual representations of time and sickness, such as its likeness to the seasons, birth and death, age, or even through personifications like “Father Time.” Time may be explored in relation to genre; are there particular kinds of literature, like poetry, short story, memoir, or the novel that reflect on time in periods of distress through flashbacks or streams of consciousness? Emails about possible topics and questions are welcome before the abstract deadline.


Themes and Questions for Consideration:

How does suffering and distress remind us of time?

How do pandemics interrupt important life events?

How does writing or reading remind us of time or help us make sense of suffering?

What is the relationship between sickness and memory?

How do we remember times past in times of suffering?

How does suffering and sickness relate to time and religion?

How is time and suffering related to or described by the afterlife?

What is time’s relationship to dreaming?

Why and when do we imagine the future, such as in times of suffering?

How is time and suffering represented in language or image?

How is the unspeakable or incomprehensible, such as death and time, represented?

How might our current age be compared to previous pandemics?

How does suffering remind us of our legacies?

What is the relationship between suffering, time and the body?

What is the role of technology and virtual communications in times of distress?

How does teaching in pandemics heighten or alter our perceptions of time?

How does boredom during periods of isolation relate to time?


Possible Books for Review and Reference:


Allen, Thomas M., editor. Time and Literature. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Altinay, Ayşe Gül, et al., editors. Women Mobilizing Memory. Columbia University Press, 2019.

Barfield, Raymond C. The Practice of Medicine as Being in Time. Ibidem Press, 2020.

Brandell, Jerrold R. and Shoshana Ringel, editors. Contemporary Directions in Trauma Theory, Research, and Practice, 2nd Edition. Columbia University Press, 2019.

Christie, Dolores L. It’s Time: Narratives of Illness, Aging, and Death. Cascade Books, 2019. Jansen, Harry. Hidden in Historicism: Time Regimes since 1700. Routledge, 2020.

Knutson, Roslyn L., et. al., editors. Loss and the Literary Culture of Shakespeare’s Time. Springer International Publishing, 2020.

Lupton, Christina. Reading and the Making of Time in the Eighteenth Century. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.

Matz, Jesse. Modernist Time Ecology: Timescapes of Modernist Fiction. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.

Mayer, Catherine and Anne Mayer Bird. Good Grief: Embracing Life at a Time of Death. HarperCollins, 2020.

Outka, Elizabeth. Viral Modernism: The Influenza Pandemic and Interwar Literature. Columbia University Press, 2019.

Peone, Dustin. Memory as Philosophy: The Theory and Practice of Philosophical Recollection. Ibidem Press, 2019.

Piata, Anna. The Poetics of Time- Metaphors and Blends in Language and Literature. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2018.

Rao, Vijaya, et. al., editors. Displacement and Citizenship: Histories and Memories of Exclusion. Tulika Books, 2020.

Tallis, Raymond. Of Time and Lamentation: Reflections on Transience. Agenda Publishing, 2019.

Tomalin, Marcus. Telling the Time in British Literature, 1675-1830: Hours of Folly? Taylor & Francis, 2020.

Vaniskaya, Anna. Fantasies of Time and Death: Dunsany, Eddison, Tolkien. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Werner, Anna-Lena. Let Them Haunt Us: How Contemporary Aesthetics Challenge Trauma as the Unrepresentable. Transcript publishing, 2020.


The editor is currently seeking abstracts (followed by submissions in January) for an issue that will be published in the Spring of 2021; we encourage submissions from all races, ethnicities, ages, abilities, religions, and gender identities. If you are interested in contributing to this special issue, please submit an abstract of 250 words describing your essay, review, or project along with a working title and CV by December 19th, 2020.


If your abstract is accepted, the final deadline for submissions is January 23rd, 2021. The St. John’s University Humanities Review is a peer-reviewed publication.


Submissions must be sent as Microsoft Word documents (.doc or .docx only) attached via email (i.e. not in the body text of the email) to the editor:


Submissions must be double-spaced, adhering to MLA format (in-text citations, works cited page, etc.). Book reviews and interviews should be no more than 1,000 words; essays and all other submissions no more than 4,000 words. The editor is open to non-traditional submissions as well (e.g. creative fiction), so please contact us with any questions or suggestions you may have.

About Steve Mentz 1264 Articles
I teach Shakespeare and the blue humanities at St. John's in New York City.

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