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Special issue of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies: "Seriality"

"œSeriality"
A special issue of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies
Guest editor: Matthew Levay, Idaho State University


This special issue of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies will explore the idea of seriality -- theoretical, material, temporal -- as a dominant but critically understudied element of both modern periodicals and periodical studies. We might consider seriality to be the defining feature of all periodicals; signaling in its name a temporal pattern of production and consumption, the periodical is a material object born from the logic of seriality. It is constituted by the regular appearance of successive installments, the links and gaps that emerge between those installments, and the ability of readers to devote the time necessary for repeated, continuous reading. In each case, seriality marks the periodical as a continually evolving form, perpetually and necessarily repeating itself while also becoming something new.

Yet this does not mean that seriality operates transparently, or equally, within all periodical genres, or within the minds of readers. After all, readers can consume individual issues of periodicals out of sequence or ignore some installments altogether, while writers can either highlight or disregard the precedents set in previous issues. Moreover, seriality need not be defined wholly within the material terms of production and consumption, and in that sense might offer an explicitly theoretical complement to the historical and archival interventions of current scholarship in periodical studies. If, for Sartre, seriality referenced the alienated social collective, loosely organized around a passive receptivity to everyday conditions, then how can periodical studies, with its emphasis on the recurrent interactions between individuals and periodical texts, chart new paths for understanding modern social formations and the routines that define them? Likewise, how can periodicals help us productively revisit the “bound” and “unbound” serialities that Benedict Anderson posited as constitutive features of nationalism and ethnicity?

Prospective essays might take up a diverse range of questions:

* How does a periodical'™s publication schedule (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually) influence its contents?
* How did writers, illustrators, editors, and publishers negotiate the demands of serial production?
* How do periodicals remark upon (or deny) their status as serial objects, and does that status influence public and critical perceptions of a periodical’s cultural standing (as highbrow, lowbrow, or middlebrow)?
* What are the aesthetics of seriality, and where do those values appear in modern periodicals?
* Does seriality operate differently in different periodical genres (e.g., newspapers, little magazines, comic books, pulps, etc.), national contexts, and/or historical periods?
* What does it mean for an audience to read serially, and how might disruptions to serial consumption yield productive insights into the physical practices of reading?
* What relationships can we chart among seriality, distant reading, and close reading?
* How can digital archives reveal new or underexplored serial elements within particular periodicals?
* How can theoretical approaches to seriality reorient or reframe longstanding debates within periodical studies?

To propose an essay for this special issue, please submit a 300-word abstract to levamatt_at_isu.edu. Deadline for abstracts is December 31, 2016. Accepted essays should be 6000-8000 words long, and will be due on August 1, 2017.


Conference Location: N/A, N/A
Conference Starts: December 31, 2016
Conference Ends: December 31, 2016

CFP Submission Deadline: December 31, 2016

For more information, contact: Matthew Levay

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