NANO: New American Notes Online--Issue 1.2 Special Theme: Mystery, the Unknown, Surprise, deadline: 18 March 2011

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NANO: New American Notes Online

NANO: New American Notes Online: An Academic Journal for Big Ideas in a Small World

Call for Papers: Issue 1.2

Deadline: 18 March 2011

Special Theme: Mystery, the Unknown, Surprise

What's up? What went down? How are you doing? What happened? We all want to know what is going on. We want knowledge. We want to solve the crime. We want to get it right. Yet, we also get a thrill from being in suspense. We like surprise parties and a good mystery novel. This issue of NANO is dedicated to both the sleuth and the mystery maker.

Three question clusters:

1. Is storytelling a way to solve a mystery? Is the lyric the poetic mystery par excellence? Isn't the chief characteristic of drama the unraveling of an intricate mystery that we call plot? Is art more about finding one's way or creating enigma? What is the relationship between mystery and surprise?

2. Why are mysteries so powerful? Think of the prevalence of crime shows on television. Entire bookstores are dedicated just to mystery novels. Is there a business/profit angle to mystery? What might neuroscience say about the desire to seek answers to vexing questions? Are we hard-wired to be in mystery, or, are we hard-wired to figure out mysteries? And where does pleasure and desire enter into the equation?

3. The unknown and the future seem closely connected, but is the unknown also about the past? Religion is concerned with the unknown, and, perhaps, with making us comfortable with the unknown. Adventure and the unknown are correlates too. Does travel writing/cinema satiate our desire for the unknown, but in a safe manner? Do tourists simply like the soft surprise? Does the unknown help us frame ideas of difference and otherness?

Possible Topics:

suspense, ambiguity, who-done-it, secret, open secret, mystique, mysticism, crime novel, mystery novel, mystery theatre, mystery play, mystery shopper, getting/being lost, religion and the unknown, guessing, negative capability, mystery and cinema, obscurity, difference, the veil, cloak and dagger, magic, surprise attack, surprise party, shock jock, discovery, enigma, aphorism, allegory, Gordian knot, scientific method, reason and unreason

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