Since the spatial turn of the early 1990s, literary criticism has increasingly recognized the important role that space plays in shaping the way we experience the world. Humans have historically assumed the power to dictate what space means, and, far from benign, this imposition has led to the systematic justification of imperialist, fascist, sexist, extractionist, racist, and other hegemonic enterprises. By discursively constructing space as passive, empty, and up for grabs, people have routinely justified the conquest of space and claimed the right to determine who can access which places and in what manner.
The need to understand, explore, and re-imagine space is as pressing as ever. For example, rising nationalist movements demonstrate the ways in which marginalized bodies are policed within political spheres. The global climate crisis draws attention to humanitys scale of influence on the environment. Digital frontiers, both created and colonized, bear utopian and dystopian potential for imagining virtual spaces. Canonical and pedagogical spaces in the academy are being reconfigured as scholars have been challenged to rethink their boundaries.
How can texts, literary and otherwise, help us to question ideological boundaries and re-imagine space to explore various states of social flux? How does literature have the potential to open up space in a way that legitimizes fluid states of identity? How can we reconceptualize space to allow for a multiplicity of perspectives?
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