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Call for Submissions: UnderCurrents volume 22

Call for Submissions: UnderCurrents volume 22

View this Call for Submissions as a PDF

From the depths of Dante’s Inferno to Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, subterranean and subaquatic environments have often been depicted as repositories of primordial forces and abiding secrets in the Western tradition. The much-repeated (if somewhat misleading; e.g. Copley, 2014) claim that humans have “explored” more of outer space than of Earth’s oceans points to the mystique associated with the deepest regions of this planet. Though dramatic environmental changes are becoming increasingly evident all across the face of the Earth, we surface-dwellers can scarcely fathom what has been occurring below the ground and beneath the waves. In these deep places, rising temperatures deplete aquifers and destabilize sea beds; infrastructures (both old and new) wind through vast urban undergrounds; heavy industry delves ever deeper in its search for fossil fuels, rare earth metals, and geothermal energy; and plastics and other toxic contaminants come to settle among the extremophiles inhabiting the most remote reaches of the ocean.

In volume 22 of UnderCurrents, we invite you to descend with us into the depths of these lively underworlds, with all their buried curiosities and submerged contexts. We seek to explore what is going on beneath the surface in an effort to confront, expand, and/or interrogate existing understandings of the subterranean and subaquatic. We ask: How does the condition of being subsurface affect understandings of these physical environments and/or perspectives? We particularly encourage submissions that consider moments, places, and processes in which the subterranean and subaquatic interact. Possible areas of focus for submissions include, but are not limited to:

  • Relationality, agency, cosmology, and personhood below the surface
  • Sites of the buried (e.g., caverns, crypts, catacombs) and sunken (e.g., shipwrecks, urban/coastal flooding, underwater cities, seafloor mining)
  • Indigenous knowledges, philosophies, and lifeways of underground/underwater worlds
  • Black geographies (e.g., McKittrick, 2011) and abolitionist ecologies (e.g., Heynen and Ybarra, 2021) of the subterranean/subaquatic
  • Milieu-specific analysis (Jue, 2020), terrestrial bias, and surface politics and their refractions (following Todd, 2018) through underground/underwater environments
  • Socio-ecological impacts of extraction and discard in subsurface environments (e.g., Montoya, 2016)
  • Bodily relationships, metabolism, and the deep as bowels, entrails, and/or ‘guts’
  • Oceanic, abyssal, and Tehomic agencies (e.g., Keller, 2003; Mentz, 2015)
  • Limit biologies, extreme ecologies, and life in the deep
  • Bodies as water-bodies and mineral-bodies in subterranean and subaquatic pedagogies, ontologies, and epistemologies

Submissions related to the subterranean and/or subaquatic that may reflect or diverge from the suggested thematic areas above are also welcomed. We invite both scholarly and creative work, including essays, poetry, photographs, visual submissions, video, audio, mixed formats, and more. In addition, we invite reviews of relevant books that may fit within the theme of this issue. All are welcome to submit; we especially encourage submissions from applicants who are Indigenous, Black, racialized, women, 2SLGBTQ+, disabled, poor, and/or otherwise on the margins.

The deadline for submissions is:

  • Scholarly and Creative submissions - Oct. 1, 2022, 11:59pm EDT
  • Book Reviews - Jan. 15, 2023, 11:59pm EST

Please follow submission guidelines at

UnderCurrents is a collectively- and student-run academic journal based out of the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change at York University in Tkaronto / Toronto, Canada. UnderCurrents explores relations among environment, culture, and society. We are committed to publishing a variety of scholarly, creative, and activist work that critically engages with conceptions of the environment and seeks to break down traditional interpretations of the world around us. All back volumes are available, free of charge, on the UnderCurrents website.

Copley, J. (2014, October 9). Just how little do we know about the ocean floor? The Conversation.
Heynen, N., & Ybarra, M. (2021). On abolition ecologies and making “freedom as a place.” Antipode, 53(1), 21–35.
Jue, M. (2020). Wild blue media: Thinking through seawater. Duke University Press.
Keller, C. (2003). The face of the deep: A theology of becoming. Routledge.
Magnus, O. (1539). Carta Marina [Map]. Wikimedia Commons.
McKittrick, K. (2011). On plantations, prisons, and a black sense of place. Social & Cultural Geography, 12(8), 947–963.
Mentz, S. (2015). Shipwreck modernity: Ecologies of globalization, 1550-1719. University of Minnesota Press.
Montoya, T. (2016). Violence on the ground, violence below the ground. Hot Spots, Cultural Anthropology.
Todd, Z. (2018). Refracting the state through human-fish relations: Fishing, indigenous legal orders and colonialism in north/western Canada. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 7(1), 60–75.