CFP: Special issue on “Auto theory” (ASAP/Journal; deadline: 1 May 2020)

The peer-reviewed ASAP/Journal, edited by Jonathan P. Eburne, welcomes submissions for the following special issues:

Call for Papers: ASAP/Journal Special IssueAutotheory
Special Issue Editors: Alex Brostoff and Lauren Fournier
Essay Submission Deadline: May 1, 2020

ASAP/Journal seeks critical and creative contributions for a guest-edited special issue on “autotheory.” Fusing self-representation with philosophy and critical theory, autotheory moves between the worlds of “theory” and “practice,” often exceeding disciplinary boundaries, genres, and forms. This special issue embarks on a rigorous investigation of the autotheoretical impulse as it moves across medial, disciplinary, and national borders from the 1960s to the present. In dialogue with scholars, artists, and activists, this issue will broach the central question: What are autotheory’s conditions of possibility, and what are the political, aesthetic, and cultural effects of this theoretical turn in contemporary cultural production? What are the underlying assumptions and implications of understanding autotheory as a genre, framework, performance, or practice? What kinds of reading might it invite or preclude? This issue is especially concerned with BIPOC, feminist, queer, trans and gender non-conforming, and anti-colonial and de-colonial approaches to autotheory, and the politics and ethics therein. From social media technologies and the publishing industry to the academic industrial complex and its varied, often ambivalent alternatives, autotheory’s escalating ubiquity serves as a critical provocation: why “autotheory” and why now?

Considering the rapid rise of popular and scholarly interest in works like Paul B. Preciado’s Testo Yonqui (Testo Junkie) (2008), Claudia Rankine’s Citizen (2014), Moyra Davey’s Les Goddesses (2011), and Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts (2015), and renewed interest in Clarice Lispector’s Água Viva (1973), Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987), and Chris Kraus’s I Love Dick (1997), autotheory’s recent popularization suggests a pressing need for analogous critical discourse. Some have considered autotheory from transmedial perspectives, from Mieke Bal’s work on documentary filmmaking to Lauren Fournier’s work on conceptualism and video art. This special issue seeks to bring together leading articles that approach autotheory transmedially and transnationally, reflecting on its evolution and circulation as a way of bringing theory to life and life to theory. We seek contributions from artists, curators, filmmakers, writers, critics, scholars, activists, performers, composers, and other culture workers relating to the global contemporary arts in any medium. Autotheoretical approaches to writing are encouraged. Rather than entrench a single definition or approach, we aim to facilitate dialogue that parses autotheory from diverse critical perspectives and geographical contexts. ASAP/Journal invites 6,000-8,000 word articles exploring autotheory in ways that may include but are not limited to:

  • Alternative modes of historicizing “autotheory”
  • Alternative approaches to defining “autotheory”
  • Indigenous autotheory and decolonial possibilities
  • Autotheory in non-Western practices and contexts
  • Trans, queer, feminist, and BIPOC autotheory
  • Autotheory, ideology, and neoliberalisms
  • Autotheory, accessibility, and questions of access
  • Autotheory, canons, and anti-canonization
  • Autotheory and pedagogy
  • Autotheory and translation
  • Autotheory and disciplinary boundaries and genres
  • Autotheory’s theoretical legacies
  • Autotheory and adaptation
  • Autotheory and autofiction
  • Autotheory and art criticism
  • The ethical issues of autotheory
  • The politics and aesthetics of narcissism
  • Autotheory and identity politics
  • Ideas of anti-memoir

Completed essays due by May 1, 2020. Please send queries or abstracts via email to the ASAP/Journal editor, Jonathan P. Eburne, at

Completed articles should be submitted to the journal’s online submission site.

Full-length essay submissions of 6000-8000 words (including notes but excluding translations, which should accompany foreign-language quotations) in Microsoft Word should be prepared in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. All content in the journal is anonymously peer reviewed by at least two referees. If the contribution includes any materials (e.g., quotations that exceed fair use, illustrations, charts, other graphics) that have been taken from another source, the author must obtain written permission to reproduce them in print and electronic formats and assume all reprinting costs.Manuscripts in languages other than English (including Cree, French, Spanish, Portuguese) are accepted for review but must be accompanied by a detailed summary in English (generally of 1,000–1,500 words) and must be translated into English if they are recommended for publication. Essays in experimental or unusual formats are encouraged.

Authors’ names should not appear on manuscripts; when submitting manuscripts, authors should remove identifying information by clicking on “File”/“Properties” in Microsoft Word and removing identifying tags for the piece. Authors should not refer to themselves in the first person in the submitted text or notes if such references would identify them.

For additional submission guidelines, please see:

Lauren Fournier is a writer, curator, filmmaker, and SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Visual Studies at the University of Toronto. She is currently writing a monograph on autotheory as an artist’s practice, historicizing the autotheoretical impulse in relation to post-1960s feminist art, performance, and criticism.

Alex Brostoff is a writer, teacher, and Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation investigates how relations between human and textual bodies are autotheorized across the Americas, both within and against the contemporary identity studies from which they emerge.

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