Call for Papers

Excursions 10.2: Chaos

There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom.” (Toni Morrison, The Nation, 2015)

Classical and early modern philosophy widely privileged the “logos” i.e. the logical, organized view of the universe, which still has considerable influence on the popular as well as the scientific perception of the world through the binary “order vs. disorder.” However, modern scholarship has long ago destabilized this false dichotomy, and chaos has captured the imagination of philosophers, scientists and artists alike for many generations. Mathematicians proposed a theory of chaos which accounts for the unpredictable character of deterministic systems; quantum physicists have established the fundamental uncertainty inherent to the structure of matter; and postmodernist scholars in the humanities and social sciences are arguing for the acceptance of the ambiguity, fluidity and fragmentation of the human condition.

Concurrently, environmental and social disasters, economical and political crisis, violent and unceasing conflicts inhabit our imaginaries as chaotic aspects of our daily lives. The climate emergency, the migration crisis, and the general turmoil of contemporary cities have been framed as chaos. The demands of an overgrowing market of consumption, the fluctuating network of algorithms and data, and the fluidity of the line between private and public can lead to chaos. Likewise, chaos can be found in messy teenagers’ bedrooms, non-linear thought processes, and even your own set of chaotic data.

Within this scenario, Excursions invites researchers to embrace chaos and investigate the complexities of society, nature, science and being human. Is chaos a natural, universal phenomenon of "disorder" or a perspective-bound construct? What meanings and functions can we attribute to chaos in theory and practice? How can chaos aid contemporary scholarship in its quest to understand the complexity of our lived experience? 

In this issue, Excursions seeks to assemble a collection of articles that reflect on the concept of chaos, whether as a natural phenomenon in an objective reality or as a socially-constructed subjective phenomenon. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Chaos as a metaphysical concept or theory
  • Chaos as a process in the biological, physical and social world
  • Chaos as a theme in popular culture and political discourse
  • Chaos as fuel to incite change
  • Chaos as a source of creativity
  • Chaos as constructed by ideology and epistemology
  • Chaos as part of a research method

Please submit your paper or extended abstract by 4 March 2020 via our website. If you have trouble with our submission system, please email us at enquiries@excursions-journal.org.uk

Extended abstracts should be no longer than 500 words. Final manuscripts should be no longer than 5,000 words. Excursions adopts Harvard style for citations and bibliography. More information about Author Guidelines can be found here.

Alongside traditional academic articles, we also consider alternative ways of communicating research (please contact the editorial staff prior to submission via enquiries@excursions-journal.org.uk).

We encourage submission as soon as possible, as we accept articles on a rolling basis.