Archive

Browse media:

Against Historical Totality: Feminist Presents are Disorienting

May 23, 2024

Dust and Dusting

Marta Lopes Santos

February 19, 2024

Trans/Techno/Hyper

Jakob Henselmans

January 22, 2024

Gathering in the Drift

Haitian Ma

November 28, 2023

(In)eligibility for Virtue

Chenyixue Ma

October 30, 2023

The Bitter Tears of Lydia Tár

Weronika Wojda

October 15, 2023

The Sex of the Assemblage: Potentiality and Sex in Ursula Le Guin

David Slot

October 10, 2023

“What is memory? What makes a body glow” Deafness, exile and contrapuntal awareness in Ilya Kaminsky’s Dancing in Odessa and Deaf Republic

Parel Joy Wilmering

September 20, 2023

Re / turning

Lucie Fortuin

June 13, 2023

Three poems

Leo Bussi

November 26, 2021

Spaces of Encounter / Spaces of Contamination

Ilayda Ustel

November 12, 2021

nonmovement #1

Dunja Nešović

October 21, 2021

The Avisuality of Destruction and Embodied Mediation of Trauma in Almadhoun and Silkeberg’s Visual Poems

Lara-Lane Plambeck

October 4, 2021

Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire by Jack Halberstam

Anastasia Simoni Stergioula

June 30, 2021

Launch Issue 2.0: Contamination

Soapbox

May 31, 2021

Policing Frequencies: The UK’s 2021 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the Politics of Making Noise

Nicholas Burman

April 9, 2021

Subverting the Surveilling Gaze: Counter-Forensics as Social Justice

Eleni Maragkou

March 15, 2021

Imaginations, Memories, and the Pandemic: An Ode to Jean-Baptiste Clamence

Maithri

February 14, 2021

Escherian Nightmare

Kimberly Peuling

November 27, 2020

Auditory Fragments from the Multitude: Reframing the Narrative Around Italian Youth Emigration (3/3)

Silvia Vari

November 11, 2020

Auditory Fragments from the Multitude: Reframing the Narrative Around Italian Youth Emigration (2/3)

Silvia Vari

November 4, 2020

Auditory Fragments from the Multitude: Reframing the Narrative Around Italian Youth Emigration (1/3)

Silvia Vari

October 28, 2020

DIS HARMONY

Soapbox

October 17, 2020

Why Is Everyone Talking About Biopolitics?

Savanna Breitenfellner

October 15, 2020

Remixing as Reincarnation: Contagious Trans*birthing in the Work of Boychild

Chloe Turner

August 28, 2020

Quintessentially Queer

George Rallis

June 24, 2020

Europe’s Paradoxical Relationship to Human Rights Laid Bare at Greece’s Border

Lynn Gommes

June 4, 2020

The Disappearing Playgrounds of Amsterdam - Art and Activism (series)

May 27, 2020

Walking in Art - Art and Activism (series)

May 20, 2020

Activism and Desire: The Affect in and Around Protests - Art and Activism (series)

May 13, 2020

Out of the Blue - Art and Activism (series)

May 6, 2020

Messy Entanglements: Review "Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media" by Sharon Mattern

Zeno Siemens

April 15, 2020

The Queue

Pip Weytingh

March 30, 2020

Sonic Acts Revisited: A Modal Play of Audio-Visual

Cas Bezemer

March 18, 2020

Gardening Tools for My Balcony

Jordi de Vetten

March 18, 2020

Magical Thinking: Towards a Future Worth Living

Nina Biddle

March 12, 2020

Letter from the Post-Human: The Fringe Benefits of Contamination?

Silvia Vari

March 5, 2020

Wasted Vanity: A Photo-Series Exploring the Meaning of "Vanitas" in Late Modernity

February 24, 2020

Pause and Play: An Account of Multiplicity

Cas Bezemer

February 13, 2020

Where Is Myself?

Nicholas Burman

January 18, 2020

Experiencing the In-between-ness

Ieva Gudaiytė

October 7, 2019

Anxious Altars: Material Renderings of Mental Space

Isobel Miller

June 14, 2019

Towards an Acoustemology of Time: Acquiring and Aligning an Aural Knowledge of Flows of Time

Edda Starck

May 1, 2019

Singing in Silence: The Affordances of the (Im)perceptible

Zeno Siemens

March 8, 2019

Learning Listening: Accent, Migration, and Separation in 'Nothing is Missing'

Mieke Bal

February 26, 2019

Everyday Musicking 'Idiographies': Listening Through the Mundane Copy

Musicology MA Students

February 22, 2019

Meyhanescapes: Visualising Embodied Musical Experience in the Meyhane Tavern

Suzi Asa

February 10, 2019

Listening to Race: An Interdisciplinary Workshop on Coloniality, Race, and Sound

Zeno Siemens

January 21, 2019

Low-Resolutions: Alternative Self-Improvements for 2019

December 31, 2018

Yours Affectively – Pt. 1: An Epistolary Exchange

Cultural Analysis Students

November 28, 2018

Bringing Down the Master’s House: Jack Halberstam on Vertiginous Capital and Kavanaugh

Kelly Klaver

November 7, 2018

Forensic Justice: 'Intradisciplinarity' and Art/Architecture for Change

Laura van den Bergh

October 23, 2018

Amsterdam, the Magic Center: The (Lost) Art of Counterculture in the Stedelijk Museum

Calvin Duggan

October 17, 2018

Conversations in Times of Crisis: Rosi Braidotti Finds Critical Theory at a Crossroads

Isobel Miller

September 29, 2018

Lights, Camera, Investigation: A Roundtable Discussion on Research and/as Video-Making

September 23, 2018

Residues of Catastrophe: Resilience, Resonance, and Memory of an Earthquake's Vibrations

Suzi Asa

September 14, 2018

Grief and the City: Vending Objects for Mourning in Der Trauerautomat

Sabrina Stallone

August 30, 2018

Thinking Through Things

Callum McLean

August 28, 2018

Loving the Earth: Being Posthuman in the Ecosexual Bathhouse

Flora Woudstra Hablé

August 28, 2018

Erwin Hurenkamp: Touching/Feeling

Erwin Hurenkamp

August 28, 2018

Roselinde Bon: S/Censor

Roselinde Bon

August 28, 2018

José Luis Viesca Rivas: Travelling Crystals - Dissidentifications

José Luis Viesca Rivas

August 28, 2018

Ana Mustafa: Leather-Hard

Ana Mustafa

August 28, 2018

Luca Soudant: Traces of a Momentary Queer Community

Luca Soudant

August 28, 2018

Corina van Beelen: The Myth of Exceptionalism

Corina van Beelen

August 28, 2018

Erica Moukarzel: I Sometimes Find You in the Strangest of Places, and Wonder, Did I Ever Leave?

Erica Moukarzel

August 28, 2018

Ilse van der Spoel: As Above, So Below - Drone Cinematography, Aerial Vision and the Vertical Perspective

August 28, 2018

Isadora Ponce: Sonic Textualities

Isadora Ponce

August 28, 2018

No items found.

Flora Woudstra Hablé: Cosmic Resonance

Flora Woudstra Hablé

August 28, 2018

Reading List: Entanglements of Race, Sound, and the Archive

August 28, 2018

Trigger Warnings: Handling Sensitive Content in the Classroom

August 26, 2018

Themes

Call for Papers: 5.0: SWAMPED! Muddied Environments and the Ecology of Being Bogged Down

January 17, 2023

Call for Papers: 5.0: SWAMPED! Muddied Environments and the Ecology of Being Bogged Down

For the upcoming issue of Soapbox, a graduate peer-reviewed journal for cultural analysis, we invite young researchers and established scholars alike to submit academic essays or creative works that critically engage with the theme of swamped. We are inviting extended proposals (500-1000 words) that follow consistent and complete formatting and referencing style to be submitted to submissions@soapboxjournal.net by February 21st, 2023.


While it may first be thought of as a space of stagnation, the swamp is also a transition zone. A space in which water and land merge, swamps have long represented an area in which the earth resists being controlled, and have functioned as areas of resistance in many Indigenous epistemes and folklores. Swamps, then, are areas that resist human control, and epitomise agency of the natural world, doing so too on a conceptual level (Wilson 1). At the same time, it has been co-opted semantically, as the term “swamped” has become associated with systems, both of society and signification, that are overwhelmed - whether in terms of a job market being swamped, or in the politically loaded draining of “the swamp” as a network of corruption. Where the former strand of signification uses the swamp to highlight agency, the latter points out a lack of it. As a result, swamps have become spaces of contestation and transition both as physical environments, and as linguistic ones. How do these strands of meaning diverge, and where do they come together?


Swamps as they exist in cultural imagination(s).

Swamps speak to the imagination. They feature prominently in folklore and provide fertile soil for myriad mythical creatures: from the nine-headed hydra in ancient Greek mythology, to the South-African grootslang, to the numerous global configurations of the will-o’-wisp. These narratives largely hinge on the swamp’s liminal positioning that makes it hard to traverse, inhabit, or otherwise tame. To this day, when swamps are featured in pop-culture, they are often mythologized to house the monstrous or, at the very least, the off-beat (e.g. Shrek, or the Man-Thing in Marvel comics, or the entire cast of characters in Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!). 

In addition to housing imagined creatures, the swamp is also a famously rich archeological site where we can find many well-preserved traces of past human life. Most notable are the so-called bog bodies, eerily intact corpses that date back as far as the holocene. These findings add to the swamp’s mythical appeal, but are also hypothesised to, in some cases, originate from it. A particularly large amount of bog bodies dating back to the iron age were found in Northern Europe, and the bulk of these corpses bear traces of ritualistic human sacrifice. This has led historians to believe that, at the time, the swamp was seen as a transition space, not just between land and water, but also as a gateway between different worlds (Randsborg). 

So, the swamp is charged with a rich cultural history and subject to wide-ranging meaning-making practices. We invite you to delve further into this and open it up. What stories do we tell about swamps? Which narratives are remembered? And, what does that ultimately say about us? 

The swamp as it appears in political rhetoric.

Since its first use in 1881 by Helen Hunt Jackson in her polemical text, A Century of Dishonor, the concept of the swamp as an area to be overcome has resurfaced repeatedly as a powerful metaphor in the arena of political discussion and rhetoric (most often in the context of US federal politics). Arguing against the so-called ‘Indian Appropriations Act’ of 1871, which rendered Indigenous peoples as wards of the state and, therefore, eligible for forcible relocation, Jackson argued that such panacean responses were immoral and did not address the needs and concerns, of Native peoples, nor did it strive towards the reparations that Indigenous nations deserved. Rather than debate the specifics of individual policy decisions, Jackson argued that ceasing to cheat, rob, break promises, and extending ‘the protection of the law to the Indian's rights of property’ (342) would be the most appropriate first course of action. To illustrate this, Jackson presented the following scenario:

When pioneers in a new country find a tract of poisonous and swampy wilderness to be reclaimed, they do not withhold their hands from fire and axe till they see clearly which way roads should run, where good water will spring, and what crops will best grow on the redeemed land. They first clear the swamp. So with this poisonous and baffling part of the domain of our national affairs — let us first "clear the swamp”. (341).

This metaphorical call to clear, or to drain, the swamp was then exercised by socialist and left-leaning politicians and political commentators such as Winfield R. Gaylord and Victor L. Berger who petitioned for draining the swamp of capitalism (Gaylord 8, Berger 107). In 1966, civil rights activists A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin employed the phrase in A Freedom Budget for All Americans, a policy proposal that, among other things, sought to eradicate poverty (14-15). Ronald Reagan’s use of the phrase in 1982 when authorising the Grace Commision (which investigated inefficiency within the Federal Government), dragged the phrase across the political aisle. Where it had once illustrated a progressive politics, it henceforth became tethered to conceptions of government waste, cronyism and distrust in Capitol Hill, a claim bolstered by the fact of Washington, D.C.,’s construction on supposed marshlands between the Potomac and the Anacostia rivers. From Reagan’s usage  onwards, calls to drain the swamp were almost exclusively directed towards Washington, D.C., as a locus of political venality. The phrase’s most recent, and perhaps most memorable, usage was by former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly uttered the phrase at rallies, during interviews, and in countless tweets. 

The invocation and the power of this phrase can be seen across various areas of cultural and political discourse and analysis; its intent and meaning wavering from progressive to reactionary throughout its history. So begs the question, what does it mean to drain a swamp? Metaphorically speaking, what is the impact of identifying spaces as swamps to be drained? Who does the draining, or the promise of draining, serve? In reality, what are the implications of identifying and draining a swamp? Who does the draining itself? Think of the thousands of people displaced by Benito Mussolini’s draining of the Pontine Marshes, and the many more thousands of workers who were subject to backbreaking manual labour and exposure to malaria and disease (Snowden 155-6). What bubbles to the surface when we delve into the history, use, and the real-world implications of this charged phrase?


The affective experience of being swamped.

But to be swamped is also to feel swamped; to be overwhelmed with work, a sensory overload, stress and clutter. Infrastructures can be swamped; systems too; and spaces can swamp you with stimuli. How does one endure a state of swampedness, feel one’s way through it, resist it or find rest in it? Can objects or texts be swamped? To disconnect, go offline, turn to self-help books, and take time off work – all these are responses to feeling swamped. But then: who can afford to respond like this, and who is unable to withdraw? Or can information overload – to stay with the swamp – be creatively productive or critical? This is the muddy matrix that feeling swamped opens in theory; a space of excessive encounter between ecologies and affects, where swamps become metaphors, and metaphors swamp. 

Thought on the feeling of being swamped and its social-political relationalities are everywhere: from Jonathan Crary’s 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep to Byung-Chul Han’s The Burnout Society to Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism. So too the desire to escape overwhelm has recently been re-conceptualized in edited volumes like Politics of Withdrawal. But “swamp” as a metaphor has not yet passed the floodgates. We invite you to think with this swamp, feel through its conceptual implication. 


We encourage submissions relating to the themes above, as well as, but not limited to, the following: 

  • Critical engagements with/investigations into environments that could be described as marshlands, wetlands, fens, bogs, moors, etc. 
  • Practices of re-wilding and re-swamping.
  • Cultural ethnographies of muddied environments.
  • Environmental humanities and ecocritical approaches to swamps.
  • Investigations into swamps as liminal, transitional, or mutable sites.
  • Swamps as sites of decay (e.g. die-off and algal bloom) and repair (e.g. as fertile sites of regeneration).
  • Socio-cultural explorations of what it means to feel swamped, its implications, and who this affect can belong to.
  • Socio-economic approaches investigating issues such as: 
  • Who is relegated to the swamp?
  • Who has access to the swamp?
  • What are the social impacts of swamped environments on individuals and groups?
  • Investigations of the function of swamps in political rhetoric.
  • Pieces that investigate swamps as veiled, uncharted, or otherred locales or those that approach swamps as spaces to be traversed.


We invite extended proposals (500-1000 words) to be submitted to submissions@soapboxjournal.net by February 21st 2023. Following conditional acceptance, an initial draft version (3000 words) will be due two weeks after receiving the acceptance email. The editing process will take place throughout Spring/Summer 2023. If you have any questions regarding your submission, do not hesitate to contact us at info@soapboxjournal.net. Editing and peer review guidelines will be sent to authors individually upon acceptance of their submission. For full submission guidelines, see our website.


Guidelines for creative submissions are more flexible and can be finished works, but please keep in mind spatial limitations: there is usually room for one longer or two shorter pieces in the print version. A sense of the formatting possibilities can be garnered from previous issues (open-access pdf versions are available on our website).


We also accept submissions for our website all year round. We encourage a variety of styles and formats, including short-form essays (around 2000 words), reviews, experimental writing and multimedia. These can engage with the theme of the upcoming issue but are not limited to it. Please get in touch to pitch new ideas or existing projects that you would like to have published by reading our submission guidelines and filling in the form.



Works cited.

Berger, Victor L. Berger’s Broadsides, Social-Democratic Publishing Company, 1912.

Berlant, Lauren. Cruel Optimism. Duke University Press 2011.

Crary, Jonathan. 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep. Verso, 2014. 

Gaylord, Winfield R. “Gaylord Makes a Statement.” Daily Northwestern [Oshkosh: WI], 10 Oct. 1903, p. 8.

Han, Byung-Chul. The Burnout Society. Stanford University Press, 2015.

Hesselberth, Pepita., and Joost de Bloois, editors. Politics of Withdrawal: Media, Arts, Theory. Rowman and Littlefield, 2020.

Jackson, Helen Hunt. A Century of Dishonor: A Sketch of the United State’s Government’s Dealings with Some of the Indian Tribes. New York, Harper & Brothers, 1881.

Randolph, A. Philip, and Bayard Rustin. A Freedom Budget for All Americans: A Summary. A Philip Randolph Institute, 1967.

Randsborg, Klavs. Roman Reflections: Iron Age to Viking Age in Northern Europe. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.

Snowden, Frank M. The Conquest of Malaria: Italy, 1900-1962. Yale University Press, 2006.

Wilson, Anthony. Swamp: Nature and Culture. Reaktion Books Ltd, 2018.




Call for Creative Work - 5.0: SWAMPED!

October 2, 2023

For the upcoming issue of Soapbox, a graduate peer-reviewed journal for cultural analysis, we invite young artists to submit creative works that critically engage with the theme of swamped. We are inviting proposals or finished works to be submitted to submissions@soapboxjournal.net by October 10th, 2023.

Swamps speak to the imagination. While it may first be thought of as a space of stagnation, the swamp is also a transition zone: an area in which water and land merge, a space where the earth resists being controlled. In addition to its geographical referent, the swamp also covers less tangible—though equally murky—semantic ground. It has become associated with systems, both of society and signification, that are overwhelmed—whether in terms of a job market being swamped, or in the politically loaded draining of “the swamp” as a network of corruption. Where the former strand of signification uses the swamp to highlight agency, the latter points out a lack of it. How do these strands of meaning diverge, and where do they come together?

Guidelines for creative submissions are flexible: poems, short-stories (up to 5000 words), visual art pieces, collages, drawings, comics, anything as long as it's printable! Feel free to take a look at our previous issues for inspiration.

Open Board Positions 2023

We are currently looking to expand our team. Soapbox is a student-run journal focused on promoting voices that creatively engage with concepts and cultural objects in the broadest sense, through publishing academic, artistic, and interdisciplinary works. Soapbox is a collaborative effort in gaining experience and experimenting with running a small publishing platform. All members take part in actively shaping what Soapbox is by weighing in on editorial decisions and take part in any aspects of publishing (both online and in print). 

In general, the time commitment expected is between four and six hrs/week, including a weekly two-hour meeting. The journal is run on a voluntary basis. For all roles, applicants should be based in the Amsterdam area and available for weekly meetings for at least the remaining academic year (until June 2024).

If you're interested, please email info@soapboxjournal.net with the particular role(s) you are interested in and a few words of motivation.

Deadline: Sunday, October 15th


IT 

  • Keep track of website analytics.
  • Sorting out any website or email related issues (communicating with web designer, working through the website’s backend (Webflow), and sorting out Google domains and hosting).
  • Uploading content to the website.

Podcast

  • Assisting the podcast team with scripting, recording and sound editing. 
  • Coordinating episode production and releases in tandem with the journal calendar. 
  • Acting as a point of contact with funding and communication departments
  • Experience with editing program (Audition, Ableton) or willingness to learn! 

Finance and Distribution

  • Keeping track of ingoing/outgoing expenses via bank account and spreadsheet, approving transactions.
  • Paying invoices.
  • Keeping track of journal sales and posting orders, sending out free copies to contributors, responding to email orders.
  • Managing the journal’s Big Cartel account and associated payment systems (Stripe, PayPal, iDEAL).
  • Keeping an inventory of stock.
  • Reaching out to bookshops who might be interested in stocking the journal, taking copies to them and checking-in with sales.