The New York Times has called the opioid epidemic “the deadliest drug crisis in American history.” Claiming the lives of thousands of Americans each year, the opioid epidemic has been the subject of extensive public policy debate and legislative action at the local, state, and federal levels, and it has been cited as a leading factor in the decreasing mental, physical, and economic health of people throughout the United States and Canada. Every day, in this epidemic-in-progress, families are losing loved ones, communities are becoming divided over how best to address the crisis, and people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and generations are being affected.
Edited by Travis Stimeling (associate professor of musicology, West Virginia University) and published by West Virginia University Press, Opioid Aesthetics: Expressive Culture in an Age of Addiction will shed new light on the opioid epidemic by engaging meaningfully with the expressive culture that is emerging from this ongoing crisis. In particular, this edited collection calls upon a multidisciplinary community of scholars and practitioners to consider the ways that people have mobilized their creativity to offer insights into the effects of the opioid crisis. Opioid Aesthetics seeks to consider the ways in which this national addiction to a drug class that promotes anesthesia might also be seen to have aesthetic impacts, as well. Through this work, then, we hope to provide new ways of considering the opioid epidemic and its impacts in the hopes that a more aesthetically engaged understanding of it might lead to short- and long-term solutions to bring it to an end.
We invite scholars working in a variety of humanistic disciplines, including, but not limited to literary studies, folklore, film and media studies, cultural anthropology, musicology and ethnomusicology, art history, and the history of theater, to participate in this project. Moreover, essays will be solicited with a careful attention to the geographic, socioeconomic, racial, gender, and sexual diversity of topics and contributors alike in the hope of providing as vibrant a conversation about these issues as possible.
Interested scholars should submit a 500-word abstract and current CV to travis.stimeling at mail.wvu.edu by 1 June 2018. Completed essays of no more than 7500 words will be due by 1 March 2019.