CFP: [Collections] The Artist as Public Intellectual

full name / name of organization: 
Bernard Schweizer
contact email: 

Submissions are sought for a special issue of Studies in the Humanities titled “The Artist as Public
Intellectual: a Fresh Look at Twentieth-Century’s ‘Unacknowledged Legislators’.” This special issue
revisits Percy B. Shelley’s claim that artists are the unacknowledged legislators of the world; using
hindsight, we want to explore the question if and how activist artists, i.e., those whose work runs
from political essay to fiction, poetry, or drama, have lived up to Shelley’s ideal. Some examples of
politicized writers include Octavio Paz (Mexico), Bertold Brecht (Germany), George Orwell (England),
Rebecca West (England), Mulk Raj Anand (India), and Lin Yutang (China). Contributors should use
one or several of the following key questions to focus their essays: What contributions have specific
artist-intellectuals made to the areas of socio-cultural analysis, political philosophy, and actual
history? What role did liberal humanism play in these writers’ artistic and ideological projects? To
what extent and in what form have artist intellectuals succeeded in reconciling their aesthetic
impulses with their political activism? No particular theoretical framework is required, although
Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Carl Schmitt, and Louis Menand, among others, can offer useful
approaches to this topic. Besides more theory-driven contributions, I am interested in essays that
historicize the emergence of the trans-national intellectual, and I encourage comparative work that
explores the topic of exilic or migratory patterns among activist artist-intellectuals. Please submit a
500 word proposal, including the author or authors to be studied, the thematic direction, and the
methodological approach by May 1, 2008. Send proposals to: Dr. Bernard Schweizer, Associate
Professor of English, Long Island University, 1 University Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

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Received on Fri Feb 01 2008 - 11:00:27 EST