Call for Submissions: CFP: Special Issue on The Anarchist Canon / Blasting the Canon

Duane Rousselle's picture
Please circulate

Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies

Call for papers: Special Issue on The Anarchist Canon/Blasting the Canon

What's left to say about the anarchist canon? It's exclusive (typically referring to male, European greybeards), it fails to capture the richness of anarchist thinking (giving priority to key texts over movement media) and it elevates theory over practice. Why then devote an issue ADCS to its discussion, deconstruction, interrogation and analysis?

One answer might be that reflecting on the canon's construction can help reveal something about the ways in which anarchism has been misunderstood. Another possibility is that it locates anarchism – in all its diversity and complexity – in particular geographical and historical locations. The canon not only establishes the parameters of anarchist theory, it sets them in a particular (European) context, serving as a springboard for subsequent revisions, developments and critiques. The canon describes a classic form, to use George Woodcock's term – it benchmarks anarchism. Who constructed it, where did it come from – what are the implications of its reification in contemporary anarchist studies? How successful have recent critiques been in overcoming the limitations that canonical study has encouraged? What are the risks of leaving the canon intact, even if as a target for critique? Should anarchists worry about the explosion of the canon if the result is to include as 'anarchist' philosophers or movements who do identify with anarchist traditions? What does self-identification mean in the absence of a canon? Does the rejection of the canon imply the rejection of an anarchist history of ideas, and if such a history remains important in anarchism, how should it be approached and understood?

If you are interested in exploring any of these issues and want to talk about scheduling submissions please contact Ruth Kinna at and copy Creative, innovative and poetic explorations of the issues are particularly encouraged – and ideas for visuals for the online version. Short pieces, longer pieces – all welcome. The deadline for final copy is 30 September 2012.

Dept. Politics, History and International Relations,
Loughborough University,
LE11 3TU
+44 0 (1) 509 223651