Vol. 27, No. 1-2

Blue Humanities

Focus Editors: Ian Buchanan and Celina Jeffery

Although the ocean covers seventy percent of the planet and provides more than half of the oxygen vital to all life on earth it figures comparatively little in global cultural production. We tend to treat the ocean as that which must be traversed rather than explored for itself — we lay beside it at the beach, we cruise on its surface, or more usually fly several thousand feet above it, but we don’t enter it (except for brief dives), and we certainly don’t dwell in it. Yet the ocean going, particularly of cargo from China to the US, underpins globalization, so much so it has been described as the ”missing context” of postmodernity And from an environmental point of view, the ocean is a repository for plastic pollution, waste and effluence and is rapidly dying as global temperatures rise. There is a certain kind of politics of invisibility at work here — we do not comprehend complex eco-systems of oceans or the interdependence of the seas, earth and atmosphere. Much less, do we acknowledge the effects of the depletion, erasure and expulsion of biological life from much of the world’s oceans. The ocean is, as Allan Sekula acknowledged, the ”forgotten space” — in which the twin fissures of oceanic degradation and social injustice are colliding. The Anthropocene of the ocean is characterized by a particular kind of violence characterized by the melting of the Arctic ocean, the mass bleaching of coral, industrial extractions of aquatic life and the warming of the seas. The cascading effects of these factors and their impact upon the Earth’s life support system have yet to be understood — but the appearance of dead zones in numerous areas of the world’s oceans are a shocking sign of its literal death. There is a growing body of work known as the ”blue humanities” which is historicizing the ocean and making it part of contemporary consciousness in a way — one hopes — that will help environmental activism’s bid to ”save” the ocean. Yet, what defines the ”blue humanities”? How does it leverage transdisciplinary inquiry and why do we need the blue humanities now?

Deadline for submissions: closed.

See information on submissions.

Vol. 28, No. 1-2


Focus Editors: Robin Truth Goodman and Aaron Jaffe

”Control is not discipline,” famously argued Gilles Deleuze. The future of neoliberal society for him was not about ”confining people” but rather ”multiplying the means of control” over them. Today, as we grapple with the destructive legacies of neoliberal society, Deleuze’s prognostications about ”control” seem even more prescient. Neoliberal society as a control society seems to be ”never finished with anything — the corporation, the educational system, the armed services being metastable states coexisting in one and the same modulation, like a universal system of deformation” — even if we are finished with it and want to move beyond its destruction and violence. At the present, control modulates conditions of permanent crisis, endless environmental degradation, and creative destruction making every aspect of society less habitable and more insufferable. From the increasing financialization of everyday life to the growing administration and automation of social processes, control has come to take on an expanding and expansive role in the contemporary world — one that is neither ontologized nor automated but rather engineered for polarization and the increasing transfer of wealth upwards. Still, whether the present cultural and political moment calls for a move beyond the conceits of Deleuze and other twentieth-century speculation on control is open for debate.

Deadline for submissions: 1 August 2019.

See information on submissions.

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