Z e t e o
The Journal of Interdisciplinary Writing
Call for Articles and Essays

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As a new year begins we are still wondering: What will be our obsessions?

The Uses of Confusion? Of the Unknown? We have in mind Keats’s Negative Capability:

At once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously — I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties. Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.

Contentiousness. Change may depend on it; personal and work life is full of it. “Class warfare” is a dirty word (or dirty phrase) in the United States, but that is only to say the warfare rages. Charlie Hebdo reminds us of how contentious free speech is, and political correctness and religious fundamentalism, too. James Madison famously campaigned against “factions.” A danger of contentiousness, he seemed to feel, was that the rabble, the majority, might make the government serve their interests, ignoring those of the upper classes. Contentiousness is contended against in order to maintain the status quo?

Insofar as we divide into warring camps, we find some way to express a part of what we would say. Insofar as we believe in consensus—Americans together, rich and poor, men and women, intellectuals, artists, business people—we become tongue tied?

Reading. Fifteen years ago a Silicon Valley exec gained some notoriety by announcing that, in the Age of the Internet, privacy was dead. Is reading dying out, too? We skim and skip now? Or read and write in short bursts? Are we coming to a truer understanding of what reading involves and implies?

The announcement: “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” The poet James Merrill apparently once proposed that we live in a time when more people write poetry than actually read it. The same might be true of cellphone texts.

Friendship? We’d love to see pieces that explore what friendship is. (N.B.Zeteo does not publish personal essays. Our pieces may well have their autobiographical moments, but they should be rooted in reflection and study of others’ reflection and research.)

Nothing makes me so dejected as to have met my friends, for they make me doubt it if it is possible to have any friends. . . . Not in a single thought agreed; regularly balking one another. But when I get far away, my thoughts return to them. . . . Thus I am taught that my friend is not an actual person. When I have withdrawn and am alone, I forget the actual person and remember only my ideal. Then I have a friend again. — Henry David Thoreau, from a Journal entry of November 3, 1858

This has been a sampling of what’s on our minds this January. We would love to hear what’s on your minds.

Complete texts, proposals, or informal queries should be sent to the Zeteo editorial collective at zeteojournal@gmail.com. We ask writers to submit manuscripts in Microsoft Word and to include with their submissions a brief bio and a short paragraph summarizing or introducing the piece. Maximum length is about 5,000 words.

Deadline for submissions: 1 March 2015.

 

More generally, eternally—

Our interests include:

Interdisciplinary pieces—that is, pieces spanning more than one field, and taking advantage of the special insights that may be gained from such spanning.

Pieces that combine, as we say, the personal, the political and the intellectual. We do not publish personal essays, but we are particularly on the lookout for writers who weave into their analysis discussion of how they have come to their subject and why it is important to them. One might speak of writers who are both well-read and not afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves, or to take sides in the conflicts of our times, or of all times.

Connected multiplicity—a phrase we have borrowed from John C. Meagher’s Shakespeare’s Shakespeare. We are interested in essays that, in lieu of a relentlessly focused argument, explore various paths, and allow readers to find unexpected connections and to relax in the pleasure of reading and thoughtfulness. We are also, btw, admirers of focused arguments, but Zeteo means to seek, and we want it to offer a port of call for intellectual explorers.

Camouflage. We are living in a world in which people, corporations, governments, and political groups are disguising themselves (including, at times, from themselves). Zeteo staff, for instance, are working in a range of fields—from Africana, Latino, Jewish and American studies; to ethics, fashion, film, and work and family; to women’s, gender and sexuality studies—which reveal how transformations of the self can be essential for survival. At times it’s not the strongest, but the most versatile or adaptable who survive. We want to see how interdisciplinary scholars and writers are exploring, defining and perhaps engaging in camouflage.

We do not expect that all submissions will be 5,000 words with footnotes. Surprise us with something shorter—a fragment, an exploration, a list, a letter or response, a series of annotated images, or . . . We have been developing an idea of Zeteo as a pyramid, with Zeteo is Reading as a strong base, reviews and short essays in the middle, and the prisms of our issues being fashioned semi-annually. We encourage contributors to become involved in all phases of this process: doing a “week of reading,” writing a review or short essay, contributing an article.

{For yet more: See News for Potential Contributors}