St John's Humanities Review Spring 2016 Issue: Change and Interpretation or, a Marxist Approach to Art and Politics
Slavoj Žižek has suggested that, after the spectacular failure of party-states in the twentieth century, it is no longer time for the Left to change the world, but again to interpret it. Of course, Žižek's directive comes in the wake of popular anti-capitalist and anti-racist revolts around the world which have reinvigorated militants and scholars alike: from New York to Cairo, Kobanî to Ferguson. There is, evidently, no easy division between action and interpretation, even in the absence of any major world power designating itself as Communist. And yet, Žižek's plea must be a tempting one for those working in the current, increasingly globalized university system. How do Marxists, post-colonialists, feminists, queer theorists, and unaffiliated anti-capitalists think about the world after the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street? How do they position themselves in the midst of anti-racist struggle in the United States (Black Lives Matter) and the Rojava Revolution abroad? Moreover, how do artistic mediums like painting, literature, and film respond to popular grievances, betray or expose ideologies, or themselves interpret the various cultural, political, and economic systems that structure our world today and in the past?
This issue of the St. John's Humanities Review asks its respondents to take up these questions and to consider the relation between change and interpretation. It will feature a brief interview with Alain Badiou. Proposals and papers might consider the following topics, though this list is not an exhaustive one:
- The intersections between capitalism, racism, imperialism, and globalization
- Strategies of resistance to contemporary oppressions
- The role of art in times of political upheaval and popular resistance
- Marxist aesthetics
- Conceptualizations of the infinite and their relevance to emancipatory politics
- The interactions, fruitful or otherwise, between Marxism and newer strands of philosophy, such as Queer Theory, Crip Theory, Post-Colonialism, and Post-Humanism, and how they might work in concert to interpret (or change) the world
- The future of Communism or, as Badiou would put it, the Communist Hypothesis
- Transnational solidarity
- The relevance or pressure of previous revolts and revolutions on militants today
- Utopianism and dystopianism in cultural and artistic productions
Please send 250-word abstracts to the Editor, Daniel Heffernan, at firstname.lastname@example.org for review by or before March 1, as well as a brief bio. Completed papers are due April 1st. For more information, updates, or if you have any questions, please feel free to email the Editor and he will get back to you at his nearest convenience.