CFP: “New Annotations”

Summary: Proposals are welcomed for a new series of brief annotated bibliographies intended to offer interpretative introductions to wide-ranging topics in critical theory.

The Yale Critical Theory Initiative is assembling a series of annotated text-lists that will provide slantwise introductions to specific themes, figures, problems, and methods within critical theory, broadly construed. The lists will not be intended as disinterested or comprehensive bibliographies, but will instead present particular orientations toward contested or neglected subjects; they are imagined as micro-syllabi for the work of critique, or perhaps as the appendices to unwritten polemics.

A typical entry in the series will combine a short introductory statement on the chosen subject with brief commentary on each of 7-12 key texts. The total length of a contribution will usually be between 1,000-3,000 words. Notwithstanding these guidelines, experiments in form are encouraged wherever they can enhance the presentation. The resulting pieces are intended to be useful for academic readers while remaining engaging and accessible to the nonspecialist.

We welcome proposals for annotated lists on any subject for whose status as a topic in and for critical theory a compelling case can be made. Initial pitches (one paragraph) should briefly outline the intended theme, sketch the perspective to be taken in its elaboration, and give 2-5 preliminary examples of texts to be included. The usual process for publication will involve collaborative work with the editorial team, including initial comments on the pitch itself and further feedback upon draft submission by an editor or external reader. The primary criteria for eventual publication will be eloquence in argumentative or interpretative remarks, cogency in the selection and curation of texts, and a demonstrated grasp of the topic in question.

Publication will be online and open-access, in a repository hosted by the Initiative. The usual presumption is that contributions will be distributed under a Creative Commons license, enabling wide circulation and reuse.

Topics can range from the specific to the general. Illustratively, they could include:
surveillance; race and the origins of capitalism; alienation; “so-called ‘primitive accumulation’”; art and freedom; cybernetics; Nietzsche and the left; queer utopias; global Maoisms; death and taxes; Angela Davis;; Marxism after 9/11; jokes; the concept of legitimacy; Walter Benjamin’s jetztzeit; financial crises; Black radicalism in North America; truth; histories of feminism; recognition; politics of philology; liberalism and marronage; the sign; dialectical materialism; memes; Du Bois, abolition-democracy, and socialism; “post-”; etc.


Pitches and other inquiries should be directed to
Matt Shafer, general editor