The editorial board of Digressions: Amsterdam Journal of Critical Theory, Cultural Analysis, and Creative Writing is proud to present its first issue, which is now available online. Read it here!
For our inaugural issue, a special edition, we asked for contributions that reflect upon the theme of “the undead.” As broadly understood, the term “undead” describes that which, while technically dead, remains animate and is therefore able to maintain an active presence in a world from which it should have departed.
From the Editorial
It is arguably this ability to transcend death that makes the idea of the undead such a fascinating concept. In addition, the concept of undeath can be used to explain a range of cultural phenomena at a greater remove from graveyards and mortuaries. For example, in the digital arts the uncanny and the gothic have enjoyed a recent resurgence, functioning as tools through which artists can explore the strange disjointedness of the online world. Similarly, online access to the cultural products of the past has resulted in the unlikely resurrections of obscure musical styles, novels, and films.
The figure of the undead revenant also plays an important role in critical theory. For instance, while Roland Barthes may have infamously declared the author dead in his 1967 essay “The Death of the Author,” the “author” appears to have resisted such an injunction and keeps returning, time and again, like an undead iteration of the Freudian repressed. Similarly, postmodernism has seemed to linger on in a perpetual state of undeath for a number of years, with different writers and theorists crowning a variety of new cultural and theoretical paradigms as its successor. However, the most explicit theoretical engagement with the undead, and the idea of haunting more generally, can be found in the work of Jacques Derrida, which has seen resurgence in recent years.
The contributions in this issue of Digressions engage with all these issues and more. We hope that you enjoy our first issue. Please feel free to send us any comments, letters, or other feedback via www.digressions.nl or our Facebook page.
About the Journal
Digressions: Amsterdam Journal of Critical Theory, Cultural Analysis, and Creative Writing is a student-edited, online academic journal based at VU University Amsterdam. We publish articles on critical theory and cultural analysis; reviews of books, films, and art exhibitions; and pieces of creative writing. This way, we aim to provide a platform for talented master’s, research master’s, and Ph.D. students to share their research and writing.