Archive for calls, December 2016

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[ecrea] CfP Guest Issue Parallax Journal - Walter Benjamin's "Barbarism", Technology and Contemporary Media Ecology

Tue Dec 06 13:33:23 GMT 2016

We would like to recirculate this CfP for an upcoming issue of /Parallax / focused on Benjamin's concept of Barbarism in connection with today's media ecology,//which//I am co-editing together with two other colleauges. Thank you very much.

CfP - /Parallax/Journal (University of Leeds, UK) - Upcmoning Special Issue: /Barbarisms/. Walter Benjamin's concept of Barbarism in connection with Technology and Contemporary Media Ecology.

Guest editors:
Daniel Mourenza, Aston University <(d.mourenza-urbina /at/ <mailto:(d.mourenza-urbina /at/>> Elizabeth Stainforth, University of Leeds <(e.m.stainforth /at/ <mailto:(e.m.stainforth /at/>> Stefano Calzati, City University of Hong Kong <(scalzati /at/ <mailto:(scalzati /at/>>

Deadline for abstracts to be sent to three editors (max 400 words):*6thof January 2017* (notification of acceptance: by *31st of January*);
Deadline for approved articles (max 6000 words): *1st of May 2017*

"In the wake of the First World War, Rosa Luxemburg expressed the dilemma of humankind as the choice between ‘socialism or barbarism’. Walter Benjamin re-framed this dilemma in his 1933 essay, ‘Experience and Poverty’, calling for ‘a positive concept of barbarism’ (Barbarentum). He argued that large-scale developments in technology had led to a poverty of experience and culture, in which short, immediate experiences (/Erlebnisse/) could no longer be incorporated into long, vital experience (/Erfahrung/). However, instead of lamenting this loss, he suggested that it provided an opportunity to break with the continuum of civilization by rethinking the role of the past in the present and the function of technology without the burden of tradition. At the same time, Benjamin drew attention to such figures as Paul Scheerbart, Adolf Loos, Paul Klee and Bertolt Brecht for their incorporation of technology into the human body. In the creations of these ‘positive barbarians’, Benjamin glimpsed an alternative to ‘capitalist-imperialist’ uses of technology.This positive concept of barbarism, rooted in a critique-appreciation both of inherited cultural tradition /and/ of technological modernity, in some ways anticipates current posthumanist debates about the immanence of technology to the human. Attentive, thus, to Benjamin’s explicitly ambivalent rehabilitation of barbarism, this issue of/Parallax /invites contributions that explore the contemporary politics of technology.

Today, the double threat of cultural excess and atrophy is intensified in the vast accumulation of electronic data. The development of networked database technology and the standardization of information has led to new state and private sector regimes of quantification. In this context, the surveillance and privacy implications of data gathering have been increasingly highlighted. For instance, social networks endorse principles of participation and sociality-as-sharing, yet often remain inscribed within systems that betray their emancipatory promises, tracking and mapping users’ interactions. How, then, to rethink the relationship between technology and humanity? Does technology lead to a surfeit or a poverty of experience? How could Benjamin’s double understanding of barbarism and/in civilisation offer new perspectives onthese urgent questions?"

Possible topics include:
- Critical media histories
- Studies of the posthuman
- Media ecologies
- Digital culture and utopia
- Postcolonial media cultures
- Contemporary politics of technology

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