Textshop Experiments #5: "Flash Reason(eon): Finding, Making, and Experiencing Meanings & Ethics"

deadline for submissions: 
August 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Sergio C. Figueiredo (Kennesaw State University) and S. Andrew Stowe (Anderson University)
contact email: 

(Apologies for cross-posting)


Issue #5: Flash Reason(eon): Finding, Making, and Experiencing Meanings & Ethics

Co-edited by S. Andrew Stowe and Sergio C. Figueiredo

The theme of this issue, Flash Reason(eon), takes up Gregory Ulmer’s concept of flash reason (cf. “Flash Reason”) with an eye toward extending this work at a time when the fourth estate is becoming consumed with reports of fake news, post-truth arguments, alternative facts, and other challenges concerning a healthy public sphere (cf. Stanford Education Group, Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning; 2016). However, it seems that critique has “run out of steam” (cf. Latour, “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern”; 2004) at the end of the second decade of the new millennium. With the heightened discussion of these new epistemologies (and ontologies), considerations of social, cultural, and political values are especially important. Thus, the guest editors of this special issue are interested in work that takes up and updates theoretical approaches to the virtues of prudence and decorum in the whirlwind of current media practices to develop a fully electrate society capable of attending to questions of judgment in a scattered media ecology.

Our interest in this topic has less to do with ideology and evaluation, and more to do with developing methods and practices to push back against ideologies that employ techniques of misinformation and distraction. Contributors are especially encouraged to submit post-critical work. The special issue will be loosely designed using a readymade model (a bachelor machine, perhaps), Mad Magazine, a publication that has been an overt and explicit work of post-criticism since 1952 (with 540+ issues published to date). We encourage submissions that take up the task of developing an updated approach to thinking about prudence and decorum in the middle voice (contemplative, meditative, reflective judgment) in an age when facts (inartistic proofs) are giving way to figures (artistic proofs).

Some possible genres, topics, and questions for this issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

- Letters to the editor (can be made up) and “(Fake) Quarrels” (among editors of various journals)

- Progymnasmata experiments (see Gideon Burton’s Silvae Rhetorica, “Progymnasmata” and Declamations)

- Performative critiques demonstrating prudence and decorum in action (e.g., documentaries, video remixes, songs, comics, spoof ads, etc.)

- Instructions or heuristics on the ethics of responding to news, fake or otherwise (or, as a collaboration, heuristics followed by a counter-argument for aleatory responses to news)

- Scholarship in the “internet vernacular” addressing the relationship between the fourth and fifth estates (think: Buzzademia)

- Horoscopes / quizzes / clickbait / Public Service Announcements / “Hive Mind” conversations

- Variations on a theme (think: Erasmus’s ‘variations on a sentence” exercise in On Copia; or MAD Magazine’s “Serge-In General Department” series)

- Other forms of serious-play and/or tragicomic experiments with the virtues of prudence and decorum that open new ways of thinking about ethics in the 21st century.

We also invite proposals for reviews of scholarly works, films, podcasts, web creations, art, and other forms of composition, including more “traditional” scholarship.

For inquiries, questions, and submissions, please contact Sergio Figueiredo (revfigueiredo@gmail.com) and S. Andrew Stowe (drewstowe@gmail.com). Please submit proposal of 250-500 words via email to the guest editors by Aug. 15, 2017 at flashreasonexperiment@gmail.com.