EVENT Jun 14
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Call for Chapters – Advanced Unicorn Theory

Categories: Digital Humanities, Popular Culture, Gender & Sexuality, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Film, TV, & Media, History, Philosophy, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2024-06-14 Abstract Due: 2024-06-14

Advanced Unicorn Theory is an edited, peer-reviewed volume of interdisciplinary essays about the meaning of the modern image of the unicorn. Edited by Alicia King Anderson, Ph.D. in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology, and contracted to be published by McFarland Press.

While scholarship about unicorns tends to stick with the history and art history around the image, the cultural meaning of the unicorn has moved on, largely outside of the notice of academia. Unicorns are perhaps more present now than they have been since the early 1980s in toy aisles, books, and television. What is it about the symbol of the unicorn that speaks to a modern mind?   

There have been plenty of updated histories and analysis of texts and natural history of unicorns already. Chris Lavers’ Natural History of the Unicorn is the most recent entry into the field, already filled with Odell Sheperd, Robert Rüdiger Beer, and Lise Gotfredsen. Even C.G. Jung gave us a history of the unicorn before attempting to interpret the symbol in the context of alchemical texts.  This collection of essays is building upon this scholarship, and instead of retreading the history of the unicorn, we are bringing the meaning of the symbol into the 21st century.

This collection seeks to understand the various meanings of the word, image, and symbol of the “Unicorn” in modern contexts.  Why is it an enduring symbol in our imaginations? Why is it still popular and relevant in 2024? 

We are looking for Own Voices scholarly responses to the symbolic meanings of the modern unicorn.

Some possible suggested topics / ideas include (but are not limited to):

·         Biphobia and Bisexual objectification a la  “unicorn hunting”

·         Feminism and unicorns

·         Child psychology and the unicorn as a symbol of young girlhood

·         Audre Lorde’s “Black Unicorn”

·         Tiffiny Haddish and the “Last Black Unicorn”

·         Unicorns and longing for the magical

·         Somatic theory and response to unicorns

·         Connections between neurodivergence and unicorns

·         Unicorns as Cryptids and monster theory

·         My Little Pony culture and unicorns

·         Not a white horse – Non-European unicorns within their cultural contexts (e.g. Abada, Camahueto, karkadan, qi’lin, and so on)

·         The “Unicorn Hunt” and the modern use of the term as a rare, mythic, impossible thing  (e.g. unicorn startups, unicorn candidates, etc)

·         The Monoceros Constellation

·         Why Unicorns are always paired with Rainbows

·         The legacy of Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn with Generation X

·         Ironic, stabby unicorns in Fortnite


Please submit a 200-350-word abstract for a proposed chapter by 1 June 2024 to  alicia.anderson@my.pacifica.edu

Acceptances will be sent no later than 30 June 2024.  Detailed stylistic requests will be provided upon acceptance (e.g. few to no block quotes, scholarly voice, etc.)

Completed chapters of 5,000-8,000 words length (with MLA-style citations) will be due 1 September 2024.




Alicia K Anderson