Guest editors: Vincenzo Bavaro and Shirley Geok-Lin Lim
In a 2014 essay, “The Stuff of Archive”, Martin Manalansan IV explores the issue of “mess, clutter, and muddled entanglements” as a way into a queering of the archive. The scholar’s focus is on one particular apartment in Jackson Height, New York City, and its tenants, six queer undocumented immigrants. Borrowing from both affect theory and studies of material culture, Manalansan’s aim is to account for, and give flesh to, those marginalized queer lives that dwell in disorder and chaos.
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 (email@example.com) and Shirley Geok-Lin Lim (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to the editorial board email@example.com.
Completed articles (5000-7000 words) will be due by January 10, 2017. Guidelines for submission of the completed essays are available here.
Anglistica A.I.O.N. is an open access, online, bi-annual double blind peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal of cultural and English studies based at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” (Italy). It explores the politics and poetics of intercultural communication and representation in the complex formations of the contemporary world. Providing a space for intellectual dialogue within the field of English studies and cultural studies, it engages with transnational, postcolonial, North American, and gender studies, as well as issues of race, migration, and diaspora. Its online format and its global cultural studies approach encourage submissions of multimedia material, critical essays as well as original multimedia art works and creative contributions.