Trans-Scripts – an interdisciplinary online journal in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine – invites graduate students to submit their work for publication. The theme of the third volume is “Thinking Activism.”
In The Location of Culture, Homi Bhabha reflects, “There are many forms of political writing whose different effects are obscured when they are divided between the ‘theoretical’ and the ‘activist’.” Scholars in the humanities and social sciences have long struggled to position their own subjective experiences and investments in relation to the scholarship they produce. Some choose to situate their research between two competing poles of theory and activism. Others, like Bhabha, argue against constructing an arbitrary distinction between the two, positing instead that scholarship is activism, and vice-versa.
Activism can take many forms; as an intellectual labor, it challenges current structures of knowledge production and has the potential to reinvent the university’s role within and against the cultures that sponsor it. To that end, we seek submissions in the humanities and social sciences that focus on the productive intersections of scholarship (what some might call “theory”) and activism (what some might call “practice”), as well as submissions that address the differences between these two modes of thinking and doing.
The popular democratic protests of the last few years make it all the more crucial that we address the ways in which our own positionality or privilege is enabled by systems of power that actively work to dispossess people. It is important, now more than ever, for academic scholarship to address its relationship to activism, in an attempt to provide new meaning to the purpose and direction of academic research. The concerns outlined here have produced and are productive of critical scholarship in a vast range of disciplines, including literature, law, medicine, rhetoric, anthropology, gender studies, sociology, English, economics, history, political science, and critical race studies, to name a few.
Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:
- Historical or theoretical examinations of activist movements, strategies, and tactics
- Coalition building across time, space, and issue areas; transnational networks of scholars and activists
- Post-recession governmental austerity measures and their social effects
- The privatization of higher education and student (financial) dispossession in the United States as well as abroad, where student movements, like the Chilean student protests (2011-2012), continue to demand educational reform.
- Conservative activism (i.e. the Tea Party) and the academy
- Social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) and social justice
- Prison-Industrial Complex and/or Criminal Justice
- Police brutality, including the limits and potentialities of law enforcement reform
- Radical visions for peace and public safety
- Rhetoric and democratic participation
- Immigration policy and reform
- Sexual violence
- Gender (in)equality, particularly in light of recent attempts to legislate women's bodies and healthcare in the United States, as well as its instantiations in different local contexts abroad
- Marriage (in)equality, LGBT rights, and other homonormative forms of inclusion
- Significant budget cuts to social services, like those we have seen in the UK
- Religious discrimination and violence
- The relationship between text and critic
- The move towards public writing in Composition Studies
- Anthropology’s reflexive turn and other questions regarding the ethics of participant-observation (ethnography)
- Action-research methodologies
- Poverty and homelessness, particularly in light of recession-era global increases
- Death penalty debates
- Affirmative Action debates
- The personal as political, and other phenomenological extensions of feminist theory
- Protest as performance (and vice versa)
- Identity politics and its critiques
- Medical-Industrial Complex and/or Patient Advocacy
- Ability as a category of analysis / The rise of Disability Studies
- Public space and free speech
- Critical Pedagogy and its discontents
- An examination of what is or should be the relationship between the community and the university
- Broad trends of anti-intellectualism or (conversely) academic exceptionalism
- Academic publication and the public sphere (i.e. academic freedom in publicly-funded universities)
- Thought crimes; the (literal) policing of radical ideology, both inside and outside of institutionalized educational environments
Trans-Scripts welcomes all submissions that engage topics related to activist-scholarship or activism more broadly. They may, but certainly need not, address the examples listed above. Submissions need not conform to any disciplinary or methodological criteria. They need only be original, well researched, and properly cited in MLA style. English language contributions from all universities in all countries will be considered. In addition, we welcome contributions from independent scholars who are not affiliated with any formal institution.
In addition to selected student work, renowned academics will contribute editorial pieces, offering students the chance to place their work in conversation with experts in various fields. Past contributors have included Étienne Balibar, Hortense Spillers, Lee Edelman, and Roderick Ferguson.
Submission Guidelines and Review Process
The deadline for submission is January 1, 2013. All submissions should be written in English. The total word count should be between 3,000 and 12,000 words, including footnotes. Explanatory footnotes should be kept to a minimum.
Submissions should employ the MLA style of citation. All pieces should be submitted as a word document attached in an email to email@example.com. The email should include your name, institution, program/department, and an email address at which you can be contacted. Any queries may be directed to the same email address. Please also include a short abstract of less than 300 words describing the content and argument of the piece.
M. Shadee Malaklou
PhD Program in Culture and Theory, UC Irvine
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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