For over twenty years now, intermediality has radically transformed the ways we think about texts across media. It has introduced new synergies between disciplines, new ways of sharing and borrowing methodologically, and it has even established new lines of demarcation between academic cultures. On a first level, intermediality is not a recent invention: one may think, for instance, of the inherently “intermedial position” adopted by Aby Warburg when he explored the multitude of images that he deemed to be constitutive of humanity’s vast iconographic heritage. On another, reflexive level, however, intermediality as a concept has been regularly theorized, beginning with the 1994 publication of Jürgen Müller’s key text “Intermedialität und Medienwissenschaft: Thesen zum State of the Art.” Thus, intermediality is not only relevant for thinking through the connections between different media but, from a McLuhanite perspective, it asks what it is that media shape and transform while, from a Kittlerian perspective, it seeks to illuminate what it is that media organize and structure.
There are, then, essentially two ways of conceptualizing intermediality: on the one hand, it is actively theorized within interdisciplinary research centres—notably those in Montreal, Toulouse, Saarbrücken, and Graz—where scholars investigate the “mediatic” aspects of their objects of study. In other words: by coming into contact with specific areas of research such as media studies and visual culture studies, intermediality calls attention to fundamental phenomena within the very disciplines it traverses. On the other hand, intermediality is seen to travel and spread rhizomatically in more and more rapid ways, giving rise to a network where, in the absence of a clearly defined centre, different interpretations of mediality and different applications of the “intermedial method” abound.
Thus, as the journal Intermédialités approaches its fifteenth anniversary, this issue aims to chart the diversity of current conceptions of intermediality. Emphasizing the concept’s far-reaching international dimension, “Mapping (Intermediality)” will focus on the diverse institutional frameworks and methodologies that intermediality encounters as it traverses numerous academic worlds, as well as on the extraordinary variety of its objects of study. However, it is not this issue’s purpose to establish a sort of cohesion that would serve to legitimize or privilege one intermedial field or method over another. Instead, by situating itself squarely at the intersection between the history of ideas and the history of disciplines, this issue aims to offer a snapshot of the diverse conceptions, processes, and analyses brought forth by intermediality within a vast array of disciplinary, linguistic, and cultural contexts.
Through its prefix, intermediality harks back to the notion of inter-being (inter-esse), thereby foregrounding difference; simultaneously, the term evokes a mediating charge. This issue, then, is interested, equally, in mapping out the (fluctuating) boundaries that parse out differently practiced or oriented intermedialities, and those zones of contact where mediations affect the constitution of methods, fields, and intermedial objects.
At the heart of this issue, a number of central questions are at stake: if one is to consider disciplines as territories (and conversely!), what might be the limits or borders of intermediality, and what are its primary fields of operation? Following this geography, what takes place at the intersection of the “intermedial” and the “international,” and how does intermediality allow us to distinguish among academic cultures? Furthermore: is it possible to unify conceptions of intermediality based on an observation of those disciplines where it is routinely practiced, but often without much theorization (as is the case in literary studies, art history, cinema studies, theater studies, musicology, anthropology, the theory of architecture, urban studies, communication studies, cultural studies, sound studies, translation studies, performance studies, (video) game studies, porn studies, etc.)? Or, on the contrary, might it be language specificity and national research traditions, primarily, which consolidate understandings of what constitutes intermediality? What are some of the overarching concepts that emerging fields of study (in particular, media archaeology, internet studies, format studies, platform studies, software studies, etc.) owe to intermediality? And what is the connection between intermediality and important recent shifts in the humanities, such as the rise of digital humanities or new materialisms?
This issue intends to offer as broad and up-to-date a panoramic view of intermediality as possible; thus, it invites the “new guard” of scholars working on intermediality to reflect here on their practices, objects, concepts, and questions of study, some of which are likely influenced by the “first wave” of intermedial research. In addition, beyond contributions stemming from important research hubs in Europe and North America, we also hope to receive numerous proposals from Australia, South America, Asia, and Africa, as much as we hope to showcase perspectives rooted in a range of languages, traditions, situations, and horizons of experience. In other words, intermediality is here thought of as a “guiding thread” whose purpose will be to elaborate, from interdisciplinary and international perspectives, the contrasting maps that can be drawn of research in the social sciences and the humanities when it is apprehended through the prism of both media and mediality. In addition, this issue provides an occasion to interrogate mapping, considered, in the era of its digital expansion, as a gesture to be theorized in and of itself.
Contributions to this issue could address the following themes without, however, limiting themselves to these questions:
• Which gestures and elements of mapping make visible processes of border creation, circulation, conflict, networking, etc., and which ones, on the contrary, obscure such processes? What is the connection between mapping (as a gesture or stance) and the influence that mediality exerts on this gesture?
• What political issues (in terms of both ideology and identity) does the project of mapping intermediality foreground?
• What is the significance of mediality today as it is applied to diverse objects within a variety of disciplines?
• What role does intermediality play within interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and indisciplinary research?
“Cartographier (l’intermédialité) / Mapping (Intermediality)” will feature texts addressing the multiple ways in which intermediality affects the emergence and reinvention of disciplines and fields of study in the humanities and the social sciences from an international perspective.
Intermédialités/Intermediality is a biannual, internationally renowned peer-reviewed journal. It publishes articles in both French and English.
Abstracts of proposals (up to 300 words) in English or French should be sent by March 1, 2017 to Caroline Bem at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Editorial board will announce its selection of abstracts on March 14, 2017 and papers should be completed by June 14, 2017. Final submissions will go through a double-blind peer review and the editorial board will reach a final decision during the summer of 2017. Selected papers will be published at the end of 2017. Submissions should be no longer than 6,000 words (40,000 characters, including spaces) and should be sent as email attachments to the issue editors. Authors are encouraged to use audio, visual, still, or animated illustrations when appropriate.
Authors are asked to follow our author guidelines for submitted manuscripts, which are available at http://cri.histart.umontreal.ca/cri/fr/intermedialites/protocole-de-reda...
For more information on Intermédialités please visit the journal website at http://www.intermedialites.com. Issues of the journal are available through the on-line portal Erudit : http://www.erudit.org/revue/im/apropos.html
Caroline Bem (Postdoctoral Fellow, Université de Montréal)