In this forthcoming issue of Anglistica, we invite contributions that investigate the idea of “mess,” at once physically tangible and intellectually slippery, in global and transnational cultural productions and social practices. Thus, we envision “mess” as piles of seemingly unorganized materials, unsanitized spaces, dirty interstices that refuse to be cleaned and systematized. We are particularly fascinated by its potential impact on the study of what J.E. Muñoz broadly defined as “minoritarian subjects”: in fact, resistance to “normalcy” and the challenge to sanctioned symbolic “order” have been at the heart of late 20th century queer, ethnic, gendered, indigenous, and other identitarian studies. In addition, the notion of mess, messing-up, mash-ups, and morphing, both as theme and as cultural practice, may signal a productive gesture that rejects hierarchical organizing and linear/causal relations of value, thriving instead in simultaneity and precariousness, in overlapping and contested spaces and conflictual, even irreconcilable, dis/identifications.
Far from advocating for a romanticized approach to “mess”, or for a flattening of the concept onto a negative view that sees it merely as a lack of clarity, order, or organization, we encourage investigations that explore both the aesthetics and the politics of mess, in a critical attempt to make sense of it.
Some possible areas of inquiry may include:
- Messing-up as a cultural practice
- Mess and aesthetics
- Shifting dynamics between chaos and order
- Impossible spaces: hoarders’ dens, refugee camps, post-apocalyptic landscapes
- Social unrest and muddled historical memory
- Indigenous vs. Euro-American ideals of coherence and structure
- Mess as postmodern juxtaposition, entropy, and waste
- Mess as contamination of the body of the nation
- Mucking up transnationalism
- Mess in visual arts and performance
- Representations of mess as the result of either over-accumulation and/or deprivation.
If interested, please submit a 500 words abstract, a short one page CV, and a list of up to six keywords by July 10, 2016 to the guest editors:
Vincenzo Bavaro (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Shirley Geok-Lin Lim (email@example.com) and to the editorial board firstname.lastname@example.org.