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Against Historical Totality: Feminist Presents are Disorienting

Against Historical Totality: Feminist Presents are Disorienting

Every year, International Women’s Day protests around the world highlight that there is not one version of feminism, but many, with contesting affiliations and pressing questions of solidarity. Ranging from calls for reproductive rights to Woman Life Freedom (Jin, Jiyan, Azadî), an end to femicide and transphobia, to Palestinian liberation: the diversity of women’s lived experiences means feminists connect different struggles. However, this multiplicity is usually not reflected in hegemonic accounts of feminist history with its Eurocentric wave model.
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Dust and Dusting

Dust and Dusting

Dust is the smallest thing perceptible to the eye. Its low visibility is something it shares with the labour associated with the cleaning of it, a labour which, like dust, cannot be fully eradicated. This essay considers Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, Annie Ernaux’s A Frozen Woman and Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex to read the history of what both Ernaux and Beauvoir compare to Sisyphus work: housework. In doing so, it surveys how Marxist Feminist analysis of reproductive work contributed to the understanding of post-Fordist labour.
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Trans/Techno/Hyper

Trans/Techno/Hyper

What does resistance mean when implication becomes a fact of life? Through a close-reading of the lyric and aesthetic form of SOPHIE’s 2018 song “Faceshopping,” I argue that the recent popularization of hyperpop demands a new survey of the genres of worlding available to trans bodies in capital. Hyperpop blurs guarded and sensitive lines between resistance and consumption, the body and the shop, and my reading of it here proposes that we take seriously this different entanglement as a challenge to contemporary concept work on trans politics and aesthetics.
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Gathering in the Drift

Gathering in the Drift

On 22nd April 2023, the Amsterdam-Montreal collective Miao organised its first screening Rebinding Home: Family in Diaspora at the Amsterdam-based alternative platform OT301, showing two films Welcome Back, Farewell (2021) by Marcos Yoshi and Papaya (2022) by Dédé Chen. Interspersed with unexpected contingencies and small glitches, the seeming ‘imperfectness’ of the gathering brought out an intimate exchange between the filmmakers and the audience, creating a one-time-and-only diasporic encounter.
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(In)eligibility for Virtue

(In)eligibility for Virtue

Despite a topical theme and beautiful artwork, the exhibition “FEMME FATALE. Gaze-Power-Gender” fails to build up an organic narration between “femme fatale” and “gaze, power, and gender.” Furthermore, the progressive narrative order and neglect of people of colour contradict the exhibition’s feminist keynote.
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The Bitter Tears of Lydia Tár

The Bitter Tears of Lydia Tár

The power of the capital marks sexual, romantic, and workplace relationships with an inequality. This disproportion is both gendered and mediated through the concept of class. In romantic relationships it is often women who are put in the submissive roles of the objects of desire. Simultaneously their bodies become symbols of capitalistic consumption.Through the analysis of two films: Tár (2022) and The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) this essay aims to show how the disproportions of capital can be a potent ground for the development of desire: sexual, romantic, or consumerist.
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The Sex of the Assemblage: Potentiality and Sex in Ursula Le Guin

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

A Deleuzian reading of Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) posits rhizomatic sex as a more accurate framework to understanding the novel’s hermaphroditic aliens, moving away from previous theoretical models of androgyne balance. I delineate the assemblage as a productive framework to discuss Gethenian sexual anatomy, particularly as it relates to the kemmer-house, the sole space in which the aliens’ bodies acquire sex, and so becomes a site of continuous de- and reterritorialisation.
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“What is memory? What makes a body glow” Deafness, exile and contrapuntal awareness in Ilya Kaminsky’s Dancing in Odessa and Deaf Republic

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

This essay investigates the ways through which Kaminsky’s deaf childhood in Odessa informs his writing
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Re / turning

Re / turning

Could the praxis of returning, rather than being a habit, a lingering of sorts, also prove to be a productive and critical research method?
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Three poems

Three poems

These poems understand poetic impasse as a formal constraint that relies on synecdoche rather than direct mimesis. They are, by their very nature, pieces of a whole. An in-between genre that creates an aesthetical character out of a single image.
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Spaces of Encounter / Spaces of Contamination

Spaces of Encounter / Spaces of Contamination

Leading up to the theme of our forthcoming issue "Impasse," we introduce some creative works dealing with the subject in the upcoming weeks. Read the second one here.
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nonmovement #1

nonmovement #1

Leading up to the theme of our forthcoming issue "Impasse," we introduce some creative works dealing with the subject in the upcoming weeks. Read the first one here.
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The Avisuality of Destruction and Embodied Mediation of Trauma in Almadhoun and Silkeberg’s Visual Poems

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

Through an analysis of visual poems by Ghayath Amadhoun and Marie Silkeberg, Lara-Lane Plambeck explores the concept of avisuality—alongside theories on non-violent ethics, disorientation, and trauma—in relation to media representations of violence and destruction.
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Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire by Jack Halberstam

Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire by Jack Halberstam

Wild Things is dedicated to the memory of José Esteban Muñoz (Queer Theorist and Performance Studies scholar) who, together with Halberstam and Tavia Nyong’o (African-American Studies and Performance Studies scholar), was also working on the concept of wildness as a concept with the potential to relieve queerness of some of its exhaustive critical and conceptual work.
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Policing Frequencies: The UK’s 2021 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the Politics of Making Noise

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

In the UK, public attention has recently been drawn to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, also known as the Police Crackdown Bill. It is the latest evidence of the authoritarian nature of the country’s current Conservative government, and is part of long running efforts by the state to silence dissent and marginalised voices from public discourse.
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Subverting the Surveilling Gaze: Counter-Forensics as Social Justice

Subverting the Surveilling Gaze: Counter-Forensics as Social Justice

While forensics is usually a normative tool of the state, Forensic Architecture subverts the visual economies of state power and renders legible the invisible. Therefore, what appears to be the impartial application of neutral expertise (forensics) is in fact an engaged civil practice.
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Imaginations, Memories, and the Pandemic: An Ode to Jean-Baptiste Clamence

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

Amsterdam isn’t my Hell—it is my surreal escape from an unexperienced history handed down to me like a dusty heirloom hidden in the attic, ominously carrying its presence in an absent weight that was always there but never quite acknowledged. I felt an unexperienced postcoloniality that became conscious in my awareness of it, in a land that was once one of the biggest colonial empires there ever was.
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Escherian Nightmare

Escherian Nightmare

Violent politics are penetrating my dreams
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Auditory Fragments from the Multitude: Reframing the Narrative Around Italian Youth Emigration (3/3)

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

In this series, Silvia Vari explores and reframes narratives about the emigration of Italian youth through the use of auditory fragments. Her “audiobiography” creates a network of different people, individual narratives, homes, feelings and voices, whose intersections and ramifications uncover a “heterogenous multitude”.
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Auditory Fragments from the Multitude: Reframing the Narrative Around Italian Youth Emigration (2/3)

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

In this series, Silvia Vari explores and reframes narratives about the emigration of Italian youth through the use of auditory fragments. Her “audiobiography” creates a network of different people, individual narratives, homes, feelings and voices, whose intersections and ramifications uncover a “heterogenous multitude”.
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Auditory Fragments from the Multitude: Reframing the Narrative Around Italian Youth Emigration (1/3)

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

In this series, Silvia Vari explores and reframes narratives about the emigration of Italian youth through the use of auditory fragments. Her “audiobiography” creates a network of different people, individual narratives, homes, feelings and voices, whose intersections and ramifications uncover a “heterogenous multitude”.
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DIS HARMONY

DIS HARMONY

Dis Harmony is both a performance and a debate. Embodying techno-sexuality, Dis Harmony is not only offering a novel approach of doing (and undoing) trans/queer erotics, but showing just how messy those erotics become when they entangle positions seen as necessarily oppositional.
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Why Is Everyone Talking About Biopolitics?

Why Is Everyone Talking About Biopolitics?

This article interrogates Foucault’s concept of biopolitics, the meddling of politics into the biological lives of citizens, and its resurgence during the corona pandemic. She argues that biopower has evolved and has been supplemented by the digital and spread along the channels of capital, rendering the phenomenon more widespread than its conceptual revival in times of crises suggests.
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Remixing as Reincarnation: Contagious Trans*birthing in the Work of Boychild

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

‘Say my name, say my name. Say my name, say my name.’
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Quintessentially Queer

Quintessentially Queer

Queerness for me, does not limit itself to sexual preference in regards to gender. Queerness for me is more so about understanding the political substantiality of your own sexual identity and the power plays, meanings and structures that can be perpetuated with its expression.
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Europe’s Paradoxical Relationship to Human Rights Laid Bare at Greece’s Border

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

Lynn Gommes discusses the tensions between the discourse of Europe as the ideal of democracy and the inhumane actions taking place at their borders.
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Messy Entanglements: Review "Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media" by Sharon Mattern

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

Zeno Siemens reviews Shannon Mattern’s “Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media.”
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The Queue

The Queue

Uncanny times call for uncanny stories.
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Sonic Acts Revisited: A Modal Play of Audio-Visual

Sonic Acts Revisited: A Modal Play of Audio-Visual

Review on the Sonic Acts Academy. Sonic Acts Academy is an annual three-day festival at the intersection of innovative audio-visual and performative art and critical thinking, motivated by changes in the ecological, political, technological and social landscape.
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Magical Thinking: Towards a Future Worth Living

Magical Thinking: Towards a Future Worth Living

Review: Sonic Acts Conference Day 1
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Letter from the Post-Human: The Fringe Benefits of Contamination?

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

In this creative piece, Silvia Vari sheds a new light on the current pandemic. Alongside the multiple opinions taking part in the public discussion this letter adds our contagious protagonist's point of view on the epidemic. This heartfelt letter to humanity explores a different, less-human perspective on the issue.
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Wasted Vanity: A Photo-Series Exploring the Meaning of "Vanitas" in Late Modernity

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

This series, composed out of the juxtaposition of three short texts and photographs, questions the meaning of vanitas in late modernity. By employing the ternary principle of reducing, reusing and recycling, it explores the ephemerality and the futility of wasted objects, while also giving them new life through their dead beauty and empty pleasure.
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Pause and Play: An Account of Multiplicity

Pause and Play: An Account of Multiplicity

Review: Pause and Play, a 1-day exhibition at NEVERNEVERLAND
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Where Is Myself?

Where Is Myself?

A Reflection on the Spatiality and Disquieting Effects of Daniël Ernst’s Virtual Reality Dioramas
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Experiencing the In-between-ness

Experiencing the In-between-ness

What do we listen to, and what do we hear when we experience a sonic liminal?
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Anxious Altars: Material Renderings of Mental Space

Anxious Altars: Material Renderings of Mental Space

How do our material work spaces embody or inspire our mental space? How are these spaces entangled with the emotional labour of writing?
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Towards an Acoustemology of Time: Acquiring and Aligning an Aural Knowledge of Flows of Time

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

This article is part of the series ‘Practices of Musicking‘, (re)thinking musical experience beyond limited understandings of ‘listening’. The series accompanies the theme of our new, first issue of Soapbox: ‘Practices of Listening‘.
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Singing in Silence: The Affordances of the (Im)perceptible

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

As part of our series 'Practices of Musicking', Zeno Siemens attunes to the non-sonic forms of 'singing' exhibited by deaf performers in Christine Sun Kim's 'Face Opera II'. These embodied, visual and spatial acts of signing and facial expressions offer a musical experience accessible only through a non-aural, embodied practice of listening.
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Learning Listening: Accent, Migration, and Separation in 'Nothing is Missing'

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

A shorter version of this piece is published in our first issue ‘Practices of Listening’.
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Everyday Musicking 'Idiographies': Listening Through the Mundane Copy

Everyday Musicking 'Idiographies': Listening Through the Mundane Copy

This article is part of the series ‘Practices of Musicking‘, (re)thinking musical experience beyond limited understandings of ‘listening’. The series accompanies the theme of our new, first issue of Soapbox: ‘Practices of Listening‘.
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Meyhanescapes: Visualising Embodied Musical Experience in the Meyhane Tavern

Meyhanescapes: Visualising Embodied Musical Experience in the Meyhane Tavern

This article is the first in the series ‘Practices of Musicking‘, (re)thinking musical experience beyond limited understandings of ‘listening’. The series accompanies the theme of our new, first issue of Soapbox: ‘Practices of Listening‘.
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Listening to Race: An Interdisciplinary Workshop on Coloniality, Race, and Sound

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

To accompany the theme of our new, first issue ‘Practices of Listening,‘ Zeno Siemens reports from this workshop exploring coloniality and race in sound, archives, listening technologies, and practices.
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Low-Resolutions: Alternative Self-Improvements for 2019

Low-Resolutions: Alternative Self-Improvements for 2019

To welcome in the new year, Justine Gensse and Anouk Hoogendoorn offer an alternative to the self-improvement narratives of New Year’s resolutions. Collected from students of ‘Gender, Bodies and the Posthuman’ at the University of Amsterdam, these ‘Low-resolutions’ form part of the exhibition W_show, which features work in progress from the University’s Master of Artistic Research.
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Yours Affectively – Pt. 1: An Epistolary Exchange

Yours Affectively – Pt. 1: An Epistolary Exchange

What is affect? A deceptively simple question, without an easy answer. Or, perhaps more precisely, a question that already reduces the concept of affect to regimes of categorisation, definition, knowledge. In this epistolary exchange, which originated as an exploratory and collaborative research project for a tutorial on affect, a group of students share thoughts organised in part by this question, by thinking through and with different approaches to affect.
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Bringing Down the Master’s House: Jack Halberstam on Vertiginous Capital and Kavanaugh

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

How do we bring down the master’s house? What tools are available to us that do not benefit the very system we are railing against? These were the central questions of professor J. Jack Halberstam’s fourth and final keynote address of the Global Critical Pedagogies Conference, hosted by the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (ACGS).
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Forensic Justice: 'Intradisciplinarity' and Art/Architecture for Change

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

A comment on the Forensic Justice exhibition at BAK.
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Amsterdam, the Magic Center: The (Lost) Art of Counterculture in the Stedelijk Museum

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

Amsterdam, the Magic Center – a temporary exhibition currently on show at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam – takes its name from the words of Dutch artist Robert Jasper Grootveld in 1962, who it seems prophetically predicted what Amsterdam would go onto become in the late ’60s and early ’70s. But it’s the subtitle, Art and Counterculture 1967-70, that addresses the urgency and power of the works displayed there, and their significance today.
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Conversations in Times of Crisis: Rosi Braidotti Finds Critical Theory at a Crossroads

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

The place of critical theory now should be to find new words, a new way of using language to describe and make sense of a new reality – to make “ordinary language do extraordinary things.”
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Lights, Camera, Investigation: A Roundtable Discussion on Research and/as Video-Making

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

This article is part of the series ‘Research/Practice’, which explores the intersection of (academic) research with (creative) practice, or otherwise questions this distinction.
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Residues of Catastrophe: Resilience, Resonance, and Memory of an Earthquake's Vibrations

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

Vibrations are the essence of the world of sound and fundamental amplifiers of the sonority of daily life.
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Grief and the City: Vending Objects for Mourning in Der Trauerautomat

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

Zurich-based designer and educator Lea Hofer wants us to rethink the process of mourning, and how to incorporate it into contemporary urban spaces and public discourse. To do so, she turned an old vending machine into a dispenser for unconventional objects of grief – and placed it within the largest burial grounds in the city.
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Loving the Earth: Being Posthuman in the Ecosexual Bathhouse

Loving the Earth: Being Posthuman in the Ecosexual Bathhouse

In 2016, Australian art enthusiasts were given a chance to “have sex with the earth”. The so-called Ecosexual Bathhouse, developed by performance art duo Pony Express, was erected in Sydney as part of a festival for experimental art. The Bathhouse is a space where visitors are invited to interact in physically intimate ways with nature, such as through “stimulating” the insides of flowers or immersing oneself in an environment of plants, while being sensually aware of one’s own body.
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Reading List: Entanglements of Race, Sound, and the Archive

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

This reading list was compiled by organisers of the workshop Entanglements of Race, Sound and the Archive: Coloniality and the Globalised Present.
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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 

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