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Gold rush is a label that we use for the incomparable sequence of gold discoveries in the New World in late 1800s. The name was coined in the 1850s in the press and advertising campaigns to attract large numbers of fortune seekers globally, while local populations, native and settlers alike were oftentimes indifferent to the lure of the mobile wealth. The result were almost instant changes to demographics, land access structures and its ‘modernized’ ownership, eagerly supported by and supporting new imperial conceptions of territory. This gold rush recipe is not new, however; empires and administrations in need of gold for their expansion always made territories accessible via roads, exchange outposts, and information networks.

Stories of gold rush intrigue us because they link the materiality of resources and the process of acquiring wealth to the fantasies of adventure and possession. The cyclical return of gold rush stories is tied to great upheavals in human history – conquests, declines of empires, changes to technological paradigms, and the search for authentic sensibilities. Between the dream of Eldorado and the fear of the ‘Indian Threat’, the quest for gold is also a part of the imaginary that places the Western world in relation to its Other – other cultures, but also the Other of the living realm, the non-living.

As the availability of resources on the surface of the Earth dwindles, and the reckless sophistication of exploitation reaches new heights, it has long become obvious that the nineteenth century’s relation to the Earth as an inexhaustible resource can no longer be sustained. Notwithstanding, corporations continue to exploit mines and soil for profit regardless of environmental and social consequences, supported by ideological machinery that works tirelessly to ensure the support of the interested majority. Recent gold rush in places like Amazonia, Mongolia, and Peru reminds us that new and old forms of exploitation are happening in our times.

Transverse welcomes submissions from all academic disciplines of every period as well as unaffiliated scholarship and artworks (photography, graphic arts, and creative writing). Submissions may address the above issues, the following themes, or other related areas:

  • Stories and histories of Gold Rush: Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States; empires of antiquity – Rome, Egypt, Persia
  • Imperial attitude, rise of administration, social status
  • Gold: money, treasure, commodity
  • Rush: speed, motion, technologies, adventures
  • Etymologies of rush: rush/rasch, rash/Rausch, Walter Benjamin
  • Greed, intoxication, experience
  • The pursuit of Fortuna, risk taking, taking chance
  • Alchemy: transition from antique to modern science and technologies
  • Black Gold, Blood diamonds, mining and minting histories, global relations
  • Marx, exchange value, fetishism: finance, bitcoin, stock market, resources
  • Territory and land: attachment, extraction, exhaustion
  • Relations between environmental concerns and social issues
  • Demographics: displacement, migration, gender specificity of gold rush, rise of ‘fast’ entertainment, prostitution
  • Conceptions of space and place, Utopias, heterotopia
  • Places of gold: excesses of representation
  • Cultural and popular imaginary: Eldorado, Hollywood, Western movies, Modernism’s quest for adventure


Visual art submissions: August 31, 2014 (video and audio submissions will only appear online, with mention in the print publication).


Prose submissions should be a maximum of 5,000 words, double-spaced, in MLA citation style. Included in one Word document should also be a bio note of approx. 50 words, a brief abstract of your work, and up to 10 keywords. A maximum of 3 poetic works should be submitted on separate pages in the same document. For further specifications and/or instructions on how to submit a visual, video, or audio piece, please contact or refer to visual submission specification doc. at

About Transverse:

Transverse is a peer-reviewed journal with an interdisciplinary focus organized by graduate students at the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. Our mission is to provide a space to showcase critical works, creative writing, and visual art that do not easily fit into more traditional publications.

We publish works in both English and French, and we welcome original translations from other languages. Additionally, Transverse is dedicated to fostering a dialogue between the various stages of the academic community, especially between students at the undergraduate and graduate levels and faculty. Our priority is to promote critical discussion and intellectual inquiry that is inspired by comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to literature and art.


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