ISLE Special Cluster on Queer and Trans Climate Futures Seeks Submissions

Queer and Trans Climate Futures

Special Cluster for Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment (ISLE)

Guest Edited by Austin Lillywhite and Davy Knittle 

Call for Submissions:

How do conversations about climate futures change queer and trans studies—and, in turn, how do queer and trans studies reframe environmental humanities approaches to climate precarity? Given queer and trans studies’ twin emphases on reframing queer- and trans-phobic accusations of ontological “unnaturalness” on the one hand, and negotiating the politics of how racialized expectations of gender and sexuality shape reproductive versus utopic futurities on the other hand, this special cluster proposes the topic of Queer and Trans Climate Futures. This special cluster turns to queer and trans scholarship to reconceptualize and repoliticize questions of environmental futurity in both its temporal and posthuman/ontological dimensions. 

Scholarship on queer and trans relationships to the environment has asked since the early 1990s how existing outside of white cis-heteronormativity facilitates useful intimacies with more-than-human life. For instance, in the 2015 special issue of GLQ on “Queer Inhumanisms,” Mel Y. Chen and Dana Luciano ask “When the ‘sub-human, in-human, non-human’ queer actively connects with the other-than-human, what might that connection spawn?” Recent work by river ecologist Cleo Wölfle Hazard relatedly argues that “trans thought . . . offers tools to reframe mainstream environmental dissociation from climate futures.” This cluster builds on this work to address how a history of queer and trans considerations of the category of the human helps to nuance conversations about climate emergency, and gives tools to disaggregate what is emergent in this moment of intensifying climate precarity from what is endemic to legacies of settler colonialism and global racialized inequality.

This special cluster asks how the environmental humanities and queer and trans studies can convene in the present by drawing on queer and trans pasts to negotiate a precarious future. The meeting point of queer and trans and environmental humanities conversations addresses the category of the future. As guest editors of this cluster, we define environmental and queer and trans futures in three ways: the production of environments—and the related infrastructures, spaces, and networks—that support the flourishing of queer and trans life; the critique of white supremacist, cis-heteronormative environmental politics and land relations; and finally, the intimacies of queer and trans individuals with more-than-human ecologies. In pursuing these three strands of futurity, this cluster brings together the non-linear futurity integral to queer and trans of color critique and the climate-adapted future that governs mainstream environmental thought.

This special cluster welcomes contributions that demonstrate the tools that queer and trans studies offer to conceptualizing climate justice amid precarity, and to describing how the core questions of queer and trans studies are reframed by the context of pervasive environmental risk. If mainstream ecological thought is historically anthropocentric and middle class in its concerns about the rights of individual consumers—defining health in neoliberal terms—what alternatives do queer and trans climate futures offer? As critiques of the present become necessarily environmental, how do conversations about climate futures change queer and trans studies, and how does queer and trans studies help to reframe the core questions of the environmental humanities to address growing climate precarity?

Topics May Include: 

  • How climate precarity reframes queer and trans critique
  • How queer and trans critique conceptualizes climate justice 
  • Transnational queer and trans critiques of climate colonialism
  • Critiques of queer and trans studies as insufficient to addressing environmental injustice
  • Queer and trans critiques of neoliberal and neocolonial climate resiliency measures 
  • Queer and trans intimacies with more-than-human life 
  • Queer and trans engagements with cities and urban infrastructure
  • The relationship between the coloniality of gender and queer and trans ecologies 
  • Genealogies of queer and trans ecology

Guidelines for Submission:

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words and a short bio (100 words) by April 15, 2023. Abstracts and bios should be emailed to and

Final manuscripts should be a maximum of 6500-8500 words, and in MLA format, following ISLE‘s author guidelines.

Decisions about accepted abstracts will be made by May 1, 2023.