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Things CFP 2015 : Things - Topics From Szewska Street CFP


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Submission Deadline Apr 30, 2015
Categories    cultural studies   technology   philosophy   humanities

Call For Papers

The premonition of creation’s dominion over human beings has become one of modernity’s deepest anxieties. Nonetheless, our current relations with things go further than the long-prophesized “Rise of the Machines”, the fear of human loss of control over their creation or dystopian visions of future humans dehumanized by technologies invading their bodies. Nor are they explained by the dilemmas of mass production and the objectification of consumers. Equally important is the modern worldview of a museum artifact, bearing witness to both existence and absence of the Other and designating his/her place in the showcase ordering of the world. The thing that functions as a representation of the Other is thus symbolically controlled and, at the same time, threatening to pull the collection into chaos.
Regardless of their origin, things gain a dimension of subjectivity through direct interaction with humans. At the same time, humanity is constantly reshaped and redefined in relationship with things – by actualizing the creative potential of the producer and the use, the collector and the tinker. Therefore, the emerging field of material culture studies is concerned not only with how humans shape things, but also with the humans being shaped by them.
Things become non-human subjects, those constantly present in our everyday interactions as well as those appearing on the technological horizon. It is therefore not surprising that they are currently being reconsidered and re-theorized. In the first years of the new millennium, Bill Brown has proposed a ‘thing theory’ based, among others, on Heidegger’s distinction between an object and a thing, understood as the remainder of a disintegrated world. However, even such a relict-oriented view does not encompass all the possible meanings of the thing. The interactive potential of things is examined in metadesign, a current reflection that surpasses the utilitarian scope of traditional design to ponder on the relationship between human and non-human subjects. This field of reflection is also connected to the issue of the technological processing of organisms or objectification of animals and plants as products of engineering and design. Anthropology in turn problematizes material and emotional dimensions of utility as well as the complexity of social relations that occur through things and with things themselves.
The proposed topics thus engage researchers in design and art history as well as in anthropology, literary studies, ethnology, cultural studies and philosophy. We kindly invite the perspective authors to submit original articles that address the issues of things their relations with humans and critically examine the related phenomena of modernity, in the perspective of diverse disciplines, methodological approaches and theoretical inspirations.

For those interested in the proposed topics, we kindly ask you to send the articles before the 30th of April 2015 to; editorial guidelines are available at: If you have any additional questions or doubts, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Kind Regards,
The issue’s editors
Ewa Łukaszyk (University of Warsaw)
Jelena Guga (University of West Bohemia)
Krzysztof Solarewicz (University of Wroclaw)

‘Tematy z Szewskiej’/’Topics from Szewska Street’ is a peer-reviewed scientific journal, parameterized by Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. All the articles published in ‘Things’ issue will be available online at the journal’s website as well as indexed by ERIH+ and BazHum.

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