Forwarded from Bad Subjects
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Wed Aug 23 17:30:29 MDT 2000
BAD SUBJECTS: Politics of Everyday Life
CALL FOR PAPERS 2000-2001
Bad Subjects is seeking short, accessible essays relating to the politics
of everyday life. Essays should be short (around 3000 words) and should
be written in accessible and jargon-free prose. Writing that combines
practical issues with theoretical consideration will be especially
appreciated. Feel free to query issue editors on essay proposals. Visit
the journal at http://eserver.org/bs/
Issue topics for 2000-2001 include:
* Improper Intellectuals
* Alienated Labor
SPIRITS -- Bad Subjects #51
We are continuously surrounded by the image, suggestion, and even presence
of spirits. Perhaps someone gave you a boxing alien doll for your
birthday, or your mother channels on weekends, or you are a day-trading
slave to the sinister "invisible hand." A spirit can be something undead,
something all-too-dead, or magic that guides the living. Depending on your
perspective, we have an overabundance of spirits in our everyday lives, or
an underabundance. In overabundance, we have the spirit of capitalism --
no longer in the form of the Protestant ethic -- but in the form of a
god-like deus-ex-machina to be revered, not explained. Inexplicable
phenomena make for good popular cultural fare, even with the X-Files'
ratings on the decline. Even the human genome could be thought of as a map
of the human spirit. But at the same time the contemporary popularity of
irony and cynicism among the cultured bourgeoisie point to an age devoid
of spirit -- of course they also point to the spirit of the age.
Subjects for consideration might include: Zeitgeists; poltergeists; the
spirit of revolution; the dead; wine and other spirits; school spirit;
aether; marginal experiences; science and the spirit world; The Skeptical
Enquirer; the Tao, feelings of debt, loss, or grief; spirit photography;
radio waves; spirituality; psychic phenomena; trips through time;
disembodied beings; angel cards; millennial movements; qi, graveyards; the
alien fetish; or credit (perhaps the defining spectre of our era).
Deadline for submissions is September 7, 2000. Send submissions to issue
editors Jonathan Sterne <jsterne+ at pitt.edu> and Megan Shaw Prelinger
<alysons at earthlink.net>.
IMPROPER INTELLECTUALS -- Bad Subjects #52
Walter Benjamin once bitterly described the condition of being an
intellectual as the experience of a perpetual state of homelessness. "The
problematic situation of intellectuals," Benjamin argued, leads them to
question their own right to exist because society consistently denies them
the means to exist, i.e. easy access to respectable forms of employment
whose middle class status is simply unquestionable. While Benjamin's
beliefs were rooted in his own difficult personal experiences of having
his dissertation rejected, and an inability to find proper employment
doing what he did best - writing; nonetheless, Benjamin extrapolated from
his circumstances that there is a certain lack of cultural value placed
upon intellectual activity that ideally culiminates in an experience of
political radicalization. In the Improper Intellectuals issue, Bad
Subjects would like to invite contributors to explore Benjamin's thesis.
Is the alienating experience of being an intellectual really all that
radicalizing? For that matter, what's so alienating about intellectual
life anyway? Go nuts.
Submissions to issue editors Joel Schalit <riotgoy at ix.netcom.com> and
Geoff Sauer <gsauer at cmu.edu> due October 17, 2000.
ALIENATED LABOR -- Bad Subjects #53
For Marx, capitalism represented "the domination of thing over man, of
dead labor over living labor, of the product over the producer." It's a
formulation worth recalling in this era of globalization, when mainstream
pundits paint the free market as a fountain of youth. And it's one that
the activists who participated in the "Battle in Seattle" and subsequent
protests against the WTO, World Bank, and other institutions have taken to
heart, whatever their position on Marxism.
The Alienated Labor issue takes Marx's formulation as the starting point
for an exploration of the nature and manifestations of working people's
alienation under capitalism. How do we confront and contend with work
that we realize is for the benefit of the "prosperous few?" How do we
organize workplaces to reclaim the fruits of labor for ourselves? How do
we combat the alienation of life energies at work, at home, and on the
This issue invites essays on the politics of labor; labor organizing
drives and activism; malcontent workers; non-compliance, disobedience,
sabotage, work actions and strikes; identity politics and labor; "illegal"
labor (like that of undocumented workers or prostitutes); migrant labor;
unemployment; working at home and telecommuting; 9-to-5 dead-end jobs;
mental health and work; occupational health; bad bosses and tyranny in the
workplace; the "disappearance of labor" in consumer economies; laboring
for a survival wage; the anomie that comes with meaningless work; and
other related topics.
Contact issue co-editors Charlie Bertsch at <cbertsch at u.arizona.edu> and
Joe Lockard at <lockard at socrates.berkeley.edu> if you are interested in
contributing. The deadline for finished articles will be November 28,
STRANGERS - Bad Subjects #54
There are strangers in our midst. Every day we deal with people who are to
varying degrees unfamiliar to us. Often these interactions take place
without much awareness on our part: they barely register on our social
radar screen. We buy groceries from complete strangers, exchange
pleasantries about the weather with them, or simply pass them on the
street -- all without giving it as much as a second thought. But at other
times, the strangers in our midst become the focus of our attention,
eliciting from us strong responses loaded with political meaning. With hot
heads and anxious hearts we denounce the influx of 'foreigners' and
'aliens' into our communities, calling for their expulsion, incarceration
or marginalization. Or, in a move equally fraught with political and
cultural significance, we travel to the opposite end of the spectrum and
eagerly embrace strangers, treating them as fetishes upon which to project
our innermost desires and fantasies. And, of course, sometimes the shoe is
on the other foot and we find ourselves playing the part of the stranger,
when, for example, we travel to another country, interact with a cultural
scene different from our own or simply drive through a new neighborhood.
Possible topics might include: the marking of certain groups as 'strange';
the definition of strangers, aliens, and foreigners in the politics of
immigration and multiculturalism; travel and the experience of being a
stranger; personal experiences of feeling strange, odd, and out of place;
aliens and extraterrestrials; the stranger in film, literature, and other
types of pop culture; discrimination against strangers; exotic strangers;
threatening strangers; strangers and fear.
Deadline for submissions is January 23, 2001. Send submissions to issue
editors John Brady <jsbrady at socrates.berkeley.edu> or Steven Rubio
<srubio at hooked.net>.
GARBAGE -- Bad Subjects #55
Today we live in a world were consumption of innumerable products
continues to grow. With each new product or market niche discovered and
exploited, the capitalist law of designed obsolescence becomes more
apparent. Everything we buy ends up in a landfill coming to a low-income
neighborhood near -- but not too near -- you.
What is the role of garbage in our world today? Is there such a thing as
garbage in the material sense, or as demonstrated by the intense rise in
collectibles of every sort over the past five years, has capitalism
managed to turn its waste into something other than garbage? What then
are the new disposables of the 21st century? Is garbage now confined to
immaterial social institutions and beliefs once viewed as indispensable?
Property values now matter more than accessible housing. Profits for
share holders take precedence over stable labor markets and wages that
maintain a quality standard of living. What is the status of family?
Friendship? Love? Parenting? Charity? Ethics? This is not an
old-fashioned argument for right-wing Christian family values. Rather it
is a query to explore the interrelationship of the continual rise of
material commodities to the point where almost everything that's physical
is potentially a sacred material commodity and the seeming restructuring
of the immaterial as expendable, unimportant, irrelevant -- garbage.
What is garbage today -- and why? Deadline for submission is March 6,
2001. Send submissions to issue editor Robert Soza
<r_soza at uclink4.berkeley.edu>.
BOOGIE! -- Bad Subjects #56
More than just music, BOOGIE! suggests its expression through dance, an
attitude, assertion and a way of moving. "Boogie" depends on *beat,*
which, in the broader sense, reflects and may drive the rhythms of our
behavior outside the disco.
To cover the sound, the groove and fingerpoppin' of daily life, we seek
analysis of the progressive, regressive and repressive in Punk, Rap,
Dance, Pop, Country, Crossover Classical, and other, underexamined or
unfashionable, musical forms. Replay the politics of music and power,
music sold to us, music taken from or by us, musics and communities,
music's facilitating technologies, that insistent beat and the power-chord
moments when music helped us make political sense of this mystifying
>From Bronx Italians in Spike Lee's "Summer of Sam" to suburban New Agers
and those execs on Robert Bly retreats finding their inner African via
tropical beats, boogie brings together disparate communities in a
symbiosis as universal as the drum itself. In the midst of Manchester's
post-urban techno-wasteland, rave culture asserts its organic
pulse. Liberation through Ecstasy? Or just more agony?
For others, "let's boogie" is just a way to say "I'm outta here!" What
does BOOGIE! mean to you?
Deadline for submissions is April 17, 2001. Please send submissions to
issue editors Mike Mosher <mikemosh at well.com> or Lindsey Eck
<music at gvtc.com>.
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