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The Periodical and Method, the Periodical as Method

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Organizer: Anthony Stott

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In the nearly two decades since Scholes and Latham (2006) proclaimed its arrival, periodical studies has blossomed into a vibrant area of study that has fruitfully defied coherence and orthodoxy by taking its cue from the rhizomatic periodical. This seminar sets out to both mine the comparative possibilities of periodical studies and scrutinize its lacunae by assembling a transregional group of scholars working on a vast array of periodicals and magazines.

The periodical—in its singular mélange of prevalence, particularity, and plentitude—uniquely lends itself to collaborative and comparative study. Identifying a dialectical tension between the ubiquity of the little magazine and the particular forces through which it emerges, scholars have, for example, distinguished between its mobile and transnational “world form” and its localized, ephemeral circulation bounded by geographic and national-linguistic borders (Bulson 2017; Novillo-Corvalán and Orsini 2023). In creating a space for dialogue that occurs at once within and across such local itineraries of the periodical, this seminar seeks to discover fresh approaches to challenges that have stopped up solitary research on this prolific and manifold form.

In this way, this seminar is well poised to confront other pressing questions for periodical studies as it moves into its third decade. What are the methodological potentialities and provocations of the periodical? Should periodical studies aspire to take the periodical as its object of knowledge, and if so, in what ways can we get closer to confronting the periodical on its own terms (Collier 2015)? How might the periodical act as a resource for subverting dominant paradigms by which certain parts of the world are consigned to case studies for applications of theory from Europe and North America (Appadurai 2000; Sakai 2019)? And can periodical studies itself be expanded beyond its Euro-American origins to reshape its theoretical assumptions (El Shakry 2017)?

This seminar especially welcomes participation from scholars working on "nonwestern" and other peripheral and marginal languages or regions, which have generally remained underexplored by Euro-American periodical studies. Other possible topics to be explored in relation to the periodical (magazine) include:

—Modes, techniques, and scales of reading (e.g., computational methods, distant/surface reading)
—Media ecologies and media histories of the periodical
—The little/small magazine as form
—Networks and economics of patronage, advertising, publishing, and distribution
—The periodical as challenge to disciplinary, generic, and other discursive regimes
—Materiality, ephemerality, and the geographical and linguistic unevenness of digitization
—The periodical vis-à-vis modernisms and modernities (and the limits of such paradigms)
—Problems of translation, circulation, and world literature
—The periodical as institution, social forum, or affiliative mechanism

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