- To Our Readers
At its inception in 1971, diacritics was like an academic samizdat devoted to the reconfiguration of critical scholarship. From that moment on, and especially during its first two decades, the journal played a prominent role in the profound transformation of humanistic research in the United States, and far beyond. One could even say that over the course of its history diacritics gradually became a sort of editorial “institution,” which is both a sign of undeniable success and a possible obstacle, if we still want to think forward and freely, and not simply cherish a glorious past or enjoy the privilege of our membership in a prestigious “club.” The most recent years of publication have demonstrated the journal’s renewed capacity to make unique, timely, and decisive contributions to intellectual debates. Now, then, is the perfect moment for diacritics to position itself as a crucial site for rethinking the aims, methods, and merits of the “humanities” and the literary disciplines. This is a most pressing need, for these fields are at considerable risk today (politically, historically, epistemologically), a risk threatening to rule out or neutralize any non-positive or discursive mode of inquiry. In other words, it is to be hoped that the critical state of scholarship we are currently facing could, in turn, become diacritical.
The traditional strengths of the journal reside in the reflexive propagation of literary theory and criticism, of “Continental” philosophy, of political thought. At the core of most of our objects lies language in general, and the Romance languages in particular. These traits are less a legacy or an inclination than a real commitment, and we will undoubtedly move forward along these lines. At the same time, the journal will not be limited by any disciplinary or linguistic particularism, so we wish to welcome more articles on unconventional topics and on the non-verbal arts. A case must also be made against standardized stylistics in academia, and, as much as we can, we will support innovative prose in scholarship. We are also eager to publish more of the long and sophisticated book reviews that have been the hallmark of diacritics since its very beginning. On all of these fronts, we rely heavily on unsolicited manuscripts. We are implementing a new way of treating the high volume of such submissions, with the objective of providing a formal response to authors within three to six months.
Beginning with this issue and for the next few volumes, we will develop three mini-series for our thematic collections. One is entitled “At the City’s Limits” and will consist of groups of texts exploring the relevance of radical political thought. “More than Global” will be the name of another set of inquiries focusing on a connective and composite approach to the universal and the globalized. In “Thinking with the Sciences,” we would like to reinvent the links between scientific and textual scholarships. Please note that we are soliciting contributions to the latter two mini-series (see the calls for papers on the next page).
Achieving these intellectual goals is an ambitious task, but we are not losing sight of the fact that we do not only produce ideas—we also put out a periodical publication, with all its constraints and flexibility. We are working on a new design that will be relevant for both the paper and the digital versions of the journal. We will obviously try to expand our presence on line. And we are putting all our efforts into progressively eliminating our backlog, by publishing more than four issues, each year until at least 2014. [End Page 3]
Laurent Dubreuil, editor of diacritics since July 2011, is a professor at Cornell University, teaching literature, philosophy, and cognitive science. In 2012, he will publish two books, Le refus de la politique (Hermann) and Empire of Language (Cornell).