Theoretical Matter(s): New Materialisms and the Problems of Theory

full name / name of organization: 
Centre for Theory and Criticism, University of Western Ontario
contact email: 
periodical.prosthesis@gmail.com

Call For Papers: PROSTHESIS: A Journal of Theory & Criticism -- from the Centre for the Study of Theory & Criticism at the University of Western Ontario

Theoretical Matter(s): New Materialisms and the Problems of Theory

Since the emergence of Marxism, the word 'materialism' has erupted with growing philosophical importance as well as a rapid diffusion of meanings and objections. Recently, new materialisms have begun to take take shape -- materialisms which are cognizant of this varied and troubled past, and are emerging from numerous and diverse sources, given what is seen as the exhaustion of various forms of postmodern theory, the rise of the animal turn, the posthuman turn, and the speculative turn, as well as developments of queer theory, new media studies, actor network theory, and more.

This wave of new concerns for materialism implicitly -- or perhaps even explicitly -- troubles the efficacy of thought and theoretical or academic discourses. That is, thought may be incapable of adequately grasping the world if it is material and thus radically independent of human practices. Consequently, we must ask: how do new materialisms fundamentally shift the 'matter' of theory, or how does matter itself demand a shift in theory? In light of new materialisms, what matters for theory?

In order to engage and stimulate these developing concerns and questions of materialism, for this first issue of Prosthesis we invite essays, interviews, reviews, and rare translations engaging with questions like the following:

What new problems or matters of concern arise when we renew interest in materials and materialism? What light can be shed on old theoretical problems?
Where do the most serious challenges to materialism lie? How can they be overcome?

How are these new materialisms haunted by old materialisms and their contexts? What might the history of older materialisms still have to offer us? How might new materialisms deal with idealisms or other anti-materialisms, old or new?

Are thinkers like Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, and Derrida justly characterized as 'correlationist' or 'anti-realist' and thereby opposed to new materialisms? Or are there threads in their work that demand neo-materialist interpretations?

How should we understand new materialisms in relation to the real? Or in relation to immanence and transcendence?

What do these new materialisms entail for politics? For ethics? For science, knowledge, or truth? For thinking? For temporality?

Do new materialisms give us necessary resources to deal with ecological crises or recent developments in sciences and math?

Is matter weirder than hitherto supposed? What is the status of the spectral or hauntological in relation to new materialisms?

What role does speculation play in new materialisms? What kind of possibilities does speculation open up, and what kind of limits does it acknowledge?

What drives the urgency of these new developments of materialisms? What concrete projects can new materialisms give rise to that will push us beyond the bounds of abstract argumentation?

Proposals for essays, interviews, book reviews, or rare translations should be given in abstract form in 250-450 words, prepared for blind review, and submitted no later than February 1st 2012. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by March 1st 2012. Drafts will be due May 1st 2012 for review and revisions.

In the case of translation proposals, please include 500 words of the text in its original language and 500 words of your translation, in addition to a 300 word proposal abstract explaining why the translation is worth undertaking and briefly explaining your ability to undertake it.

Please send submissions to: periodical.prosthesis@gmail.com
Deadline: February 1st 2012

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
interdisciplinary
journals_and_collections_of_essays
theory