Reconstruction 17.1, In-Between Spaces: Interstices and Borders of Identity (Dec. 1, 2015)

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Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture

Reconstruction 17.1, In-Between Spaces: Interstices and Borders of Identity
(Abstracts 250-500 words due Dec 1, 2015, full papers due Mar 1, 2016)
Edited by Amanda Gradisek and Ron Scott

This issue invites collaborative essays that consider what Homi Bhabba calls the "move away from the singularities of 'class' and gender' as primary conceptual and organizational categories" in The Location of Culture. Destabilizing these constructs, once considered monolithic, results in what Bhabba calls "'in-between' spaces" that "provide the terrain for elaborating strategies of selfhood." These interstitial spaces "initiate new signs of identity, and innovative sites of collaboration, and contestation, in the act of defining the idea of society itself." The work of this issue is to interrogate the nature of these in-between spaces, the borders that may or may not divide foundational categories of identity, and the way in which these inter-spaces allow for the generation of new ideas and theorizations of established categories.

Authors need not only consider the theoretical perspective of Bhabba for this issue. Spivak's consideration of the subaltern, Anzaldua's approach to the culture of the border, and Hayles's analysis of the post-human all rely on some fundamental conceptions of identity governed by borders of some kind--be they literal, conceptual, theoretical, or categorical. In any case, articles should interrogate the nature of these borders, their permeability, the effects of passing through them, and the ways in which these constructions affect the categories of identity they organize. Pieces should examine the ways in which seemingly monolithic categories of identity create interstitial or liminal spaces that allow for resistance against constructs of power.

Taking this formulation as its starting point, we propose an issue will be composed of essays that model this methodology in practice as well as ideology; essays should be the work of collaborators who work in different periods, genres, or disciplines, and bring together aesthetic representations that seem, at first glance, based on binary and negative definition. Possible approaches might include the investigation of canonical literature, philosophy, theory, or art with popular film, contemporary cultural issues, science fiction novels, or horror genres. By modeling the theoretical lens through the methodology of the issue itself, we hope to explore the nature of different sort of interstitial ideas through collaborative and multifaceted analysis.

One article is a collaboration between Ron Scott (rhetoric and compositions) and Amanda Gradisek (American literature), bringing together canonical Harlem with the popular genre the zombie film. This article considers the nature of passing through strikingly different texts to interrogate an established literary and historical practice through an interdisciplinary, contemporary, and prismatic approach. Examining categorical identity in this piece in the Harlem Renaissance and a a modern zombie film shows how the trope of passing creates in between spaces that allow both the zombies who pass and the blacks who pass to undermine the system. This issue will particularly focus on kinds of borders between categories, which the methodology will also reflect.

Possible collaborative topics may include but are not limited to canonical texts in context with contemporary popular texts, or an examination of a canonical text from different historical periods in relation to more current to specific popular cultural texts, films, music, art, or digital texts. Whatever texts authors choose, articles should address specific concepts of liminal spaces in relation to formation of identities and larger scale, hierarchical social structures.

Articles with tentative titles and contributors:

"Reconceiving and Redeeming the Self: Passing, the Harlem Renaissance, and Zombies"
Amanda R. Gradisek (Walsh University)
Ron Scott (Walsh University)

"Surf's Up: Thomas Pynchon at the Edge of American Culture"
Charlie Bertsch (University of Arizona)
Sam Schwartz (Oregon State University)

Please send abstracts by Dec. 1 to Amanda Gradisek ( and Ron Scott ( Submissions may take the form of scholarly articles (5-10,000 words), multimedia submissions, book reviews and any other format you feel may be interesting for an online cultural studies journal.

Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture (ISSN: 1547-4348) is an innovative online cultural studies journal dedicated to fostering an intellectual community composed of scholars and their audience, granting them all the ability to share thoughts and opinions on the most important and influential work in contemporary interdisciplinary studies. Reconstruction publishes three Themed Issues and one Open Issue per year.

Send Open Issue submissions (year round) to: and submissions for Themed Issues to the appropriate editors listed on the site at

Reconstruction also accepts proposal for special issue editors and topics. Reconstruction is indexed in the MLA International Bibliography.