draft cfp

Can readers comment on this for me please? It is for a well known online Australian journal. Nothing concrete has been organised yet, just an idea floated.


Enthusiasm can be ‘blind’, yet without it, ‘no great deed can be done’. What does it mean to be enthused or an enthusiast? Kant described enthusiasm as an excitation that exceeds the astonishment of novelty. Indeed, the Enlightenment conception of enthusiasm is a subjectively internal mode of the sublime that operated as a kind of motor for perseverance and action. For example, Lyotard’s neo-Kantian enthusiasm describes it as a motor for an impasse of a historico-political blockage or break. [this bit needs work]

A post-structuralist typology of enthusiasm requires an appreciation of the schemas of appetition through which enthusiasts experience their enthusiasm. Beyond identity of subject or object, or relations between them, enthusiasm has a processual ontology. Tests of ‘competition’, masculine ‘risk’, creative ‘experiment’, and political ‘opportunity’ and ‘struggle’ are all examples of the more general ‘challenge’ that manifests enthusiasm and mobilises bodies into action. Is there a political enthusiasm, the force of ‘hope’, that drives constituencies for progress or revolution? The outcome is open and subject to the processing of multiplicity. Enthusiasm is a passage. Impasse and passage.

Subcultural scenes as much as classrooms rely on ‘enthusiasm’ for success or, at the minimum, survival — cultural studies academics often bring them together. In the post-Enlightenment era, as inspirational teachers or effective marketing executives know, enthusiasm becomes a resource to be cultivated. The culture industries at the forefront of convergence rely on transversal relations of enthusiasm produced across different media and organised around immanent media events. They invest in the infrastructures of enthusiasm so its mobilising power can be turned into surplus value. Are audiences no longer cultural dupes simply because they will their own enthusiastic participatory exploitation?

3 thoughts on “draft cfp”

  1. Hi Glen – nice. The last sentence is the key point of interest for me, and the one I’d be keenest to see explored at length. It’s something that preoccupies many of us at the moment. Otherwise great – I’d love to see you take this on in the “well-known online Australian journal” LOL.

  2. Hi Glen

    Great topic — so much that could be done with it.

    Thinking in terms of genre, I can’t help but feel that there are two ways in which the piece as a CFP could do more. First up is the occasional use of quite narrow terminology — “schemas of appetition”, “processual ontology”, “transversal relations”. If the CFP is geared towards or articulated in relation to a “post-structuralist typology”, is it possible that the use of these terms/phrases (at the expense of more widely recognisable terms or names) may discourage contributions from those who are unfamiliar with the terminology but who would nevertheless contribute in ways that you would think are highly suitable for the issue? Of course, if you’re after contributions that are articulated specifically in these narrower terms, that’s fine, although you might then try to indicate that more explicitly.

    Secondly — and maybe this one is a bit more “subjective” — I tend to prefer CFPs that ask questions rather than make claims/arguments or provide specific topics for people to write on. Outlining particular concepts of enthusiasm that you want to call into question works well, but beyond that, from a reader’s perspective I prefer to be left to develop “my own” ideas with regard to how the concept might be re-imagined. Your CFP does indeed ask questions, but it also does some of the work that I would expect the contributions themselves to be doing. So perhaps some of your claims could similarly be put in the form of a question: e.g. instead of “Beyond identity of subject or object, or relations between them, enthusiasm has a processual ontology” one might use “How can one account for enthusiasm beyond the identity of subject or object, or of the relations between them?” (or something like that?). And again, rather than the statement that enthusiasm becomes a resource, etc., how about putting it into the form of a question: “What are the relations between the culture industries, media events and enthusiasm?” (or something similar). Again, unless you’re specifically after something like “case studies” of enthusiasm as conceived in the specific terms that you’ve used — in which case a more explicit statement along those lines would more likely solicit the kind of contributions you’re after. If you’re not after that narrower set of contributions, though, then I can’t help but wonder if some of what you’ve written in the CFP would be better suited for the introduction to the issue itself.

    That sounds overly critical (?), so again, let me reiterate that I think it’s a great topic for a special issue and I think you’ll generate some fantastic submissions.


  3. Glen, email me and I’ll tell you about my latest project which is an online magazine of culture and entertainment. We are hoping to launch in August or September, and the publication has a title that I think you might enjoy!!

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