The Seventies, Now -- Abstracts September 30; manuscripts November 15; journal issue, December 2012

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In Western post-WW2 history, the Seventies marked a watershed between cultures and societies still defined by a large degree of consensus and societies marked by a high degree of conflict, crossed by political, social, demographic, economic, aesthetic and literary transformations, and characterized by ideological polarizations. From the vantage point of intellectual history, the Seventies registered a relentless questioning of modes of knowing and theoretical foundations, and generated a thorough revision of critical thinking, as the (mainly) French and German traditions of philosophical modernity (phenomenology to existentialism, linguistics to anthropology, Nietzsche to Heidegger to Wittgenstein, Husserl to Bergson to Sartre to Deleuze and Guattari, Freud to Lacan, Hegel to Kojéve to Lacan, DeSaussure to Foucault) and their legacies were reinvested on the analysis of power and agency in the modern, capitalist world system triggered, on the one hand, by the new social movements -- especially in the U.S., France, and Italy -- and, on the other, by the decolonization process. The outcome was a massive wave of critical and creative energies sustained by a generalized transformative impulse that invested every aspect of human experience and every critical category used to describe it. Subjectivity, objectivity, power, responsibility, class, freedom, right, race, gender, sexuality, mind, human being, participation, politics, art, object, form, expression, performance, process, product: these are just a few of the terms altered by the conceptual revolution of the Seventies.
The overall questioning of the relation between power and knowledge, and of the cultural and aesthetic forms and formations by means of which power becomes productive and reproductive, occurred simultaneously with the consolidation of the cybernetic paradigm, itself generative of a high degree of semantic and lexical overlapping and conflation around cross-disciplinary concepts, such as: code, information, feedback, circuit, and system. This conceptual convergence enabled the temporary interpenetration and/or recombination of distinct disciplinary knowledges and discursive domains, and allowed for the metaphoric association of literature, art, and cybernetics and for a redefinition of the artwork from a closed, self-contained object to an open, performative, processual system, connecting artist, artwork and audience in a communicational circuit. This shift re-opened from different angles the interminable question of social, aesthetic and political signification, and generated new artistic and expressive experiments and new accounts of how literature, the media, and artistic and political practices enter into subject formation and social action.

What is left, today, of the wave of intense theoretical, formal, aesthetic and social experimentation that defined the Seventies? How can we assess its productivity in the arts, in public communication, in the transformations of lifestyles and in social and political mutation? How can we readdress, today, the impulses, needs and demands behind the political radicalization of those years? What is left, in our post-ideological age, of our understandings of ideology and its social operations? The cultural production of the Seventies urges us to reconsider with renewed vigor the problem of the relation between art and ideology, forcing us to think anew the nexus between aesthetic forms, conditions and possibilities of knowledge, and modes of production.

To address the above questions and more, we invite proposals for the monographic section of the issue of December 2012 of Enthymema,
Themes consistent with this CFP may be, for instance (but not exclusively):

  • Ideology and artistic production (or, crisis of ideology and artistic production);
  • The Avant-Garde; the Neo-Avant-Garde; transformation, assimilation, and mutation of aesthetic and social forms;
  • Linguistics, semiotics, their productivity, their revolutionary theories of meaning;
  • Death of the author; return of the author; cybernetic machines;
  • The personal and the political;
  • Aesthetics, lifestyles, political practices in Seventies cultures;
  • Kinds of radicalism, utopia, mutation;
  • Testimonies;
  • Narrative productions: representing the Seventies;
  • The memory of the 1970s.

    Themes may refer to any literary, theoretical and artistic tradition (from literature to design, from music to architecture) and be written in any of the original languages published on Enthymema. Manuscripts may not exceed 25 pages or 8.000 words, footnotes included and must be prepared according to the MLA style format (7th edition, 2011). Abstracts deadline is September 30, 2012; completed manuscripts deadline is November 15, 2012.

    Please send abstracts to:
    Cristina Iuli (Guest Editor)
    Stefania Sini