CFP: Beyond Suspicion: Expanding Theoretical Vocabularies in an Age of Critical Fatigue (Submissions Due: Jan. 31, 2021)

Pivot: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies & Thought

In addition to ‘determining’ and serving as a ‘backdrop for human action’, things might authorize, allow, afford, encourage, permit, suggest, influence, block, render possible, forbid, and so on. — Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (2005), p. 72

The antidote to suspicion is thus not a repudiation of theory . . . but an ampler and more diverse range of theoretical  vocabularies.Rita Felski, The Limits of Critique (2015), p. 181

Many literary and cultural critics have advocated for expanding the lexicon of available “theoretical vocabularies” to include notions of attachment, enchantment, motivation, shock, and hope. Rather than relying upon a “hermeneutics of suspicion” (Ricoeur) that presumes to uncover hidden dimensions of power or ideology, these critics suggest that objects of inquiry possess a measure of agency that may impose itself upon the critic to the same extent that the critic is thought to impose oneself upon the object. For these critics, objects have the capacity to draw disparate constituents into groups and/or induce us to reexamine our thought patterns. In this light, the critic no longer performs the heroic effort of demystification, but recognizes that any object of inquiry (textual, visual, aural, inter/transmedial, or otherwise) animates no less than it demands scrutiny; that it has socially and culturally productive effects which traverse and transform time and space; and that it mediates, sustains, and/or circulates within fluid networks of human and non-human actors.

For this issue of Pivot (8.1), the editors invite submissions investigating the analytical  possibilities  afforded  by  theoretical  approaches  that  move   beyond traditional modes of critique, which tend to value suspicion, paranoia, skepticism, and distance. What do unsuspicious critics contribute to the development and advancement of knowledge? How might we theorize our attachment to works of art and literature? Should we incorporate discussions of attachment or enchantment into our pedagogy? Can objects of inquiry elicit hope and/or change the way we care or feel about others?

We invite submissions that treat a wide range of historical periods and subject matter. Approaches that move across disciplinary boundaries are especially encouraged, as are investigations and discussions of pedagogical strategies and theory. In addition to scholarly articles, we are also seeking creative and experimental submissions across media (stories, poetry, photography, visual art, digital projects) that engage this issue’s theme. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • The limits of critique and the role of the critic
  • Attachment in critical and/or pedagogical approaches
  • The academic and/or artistic celebrity; the marketplace for art
  • Codependency among the human and non-human
  • The (re)positioning or displacement of agency
  • Mediation and remediation
  • Transmediality/intermediality;   transcription/inscription
  • Networks of and within texts
  • Creative production within/via networks
  • Book clubs, salons, and other communities of cultural consumption
  • Identification and/or entanglement
  • Global networks of production and commerce

Deadline for submissions is 31 January 2021. Authors are requested to submit full articles of 6000–8000 words and accompanying abstracts of 250 words (maximum) online at Creative writing submissions should be 5000 words or less. For visual and/or other creative media, please submit 500–1000 words describing your work and how it contributes to the central theme of the issue. Any questions can be addressed to the editorial team at

Categories: Non ACCUTE CFPs

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