CFP: Special Issue 32, "Aesthetics of Idleness"

Madeline Ullrich's picture
Call for Papers
January 15, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Humanities

For its thirty-second issue, InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture invites scholarly articles and creative works that address the aesthetics of idleness. This issue will also feature an introduction by and an interview with Jean Ma.

Idleness suggests slack and stasis. It evokes empty, wasted time, and thus the dangers of being useless. It even recalls the religious notion that there is something satanic about not being occupied with work. But what are the aesthetics of idleness? In what ways does being idle function as a cultural or artistic practice? How can we theorize idleness, and perhaps do so idly? Or does treating idleness as a site of cultural analysis and critical theory undo the danger of it?

This issue of InVisible Culture invites contributions that consider the ways in which idleness works across cultures. How might the concept of idleness be seen as a space of inquiry and contestation, and how might it become generative and productive? Possible topics may include and are by no means limited to:

  • Rest as a break or a point of departure 
  • Pauses (visual, literary, musical)
  • Isolation, fatigue and exhaustion 
  • Liminality/in-betweenness 
  • Leisure and labor/Wasted or unproductive time
  • Intimacy and vulnerability
  • Health, illness, and convalescence (mental and physical)
  • Slow cinema
  • Idleness in digital and new media
  • Imagery of/around the sleeping body
  • Boredom, lethargy, apathy
  • Posthuman/non-human notions of idleness or rest
  • Dreaming and the unconscious
  • Morality, sinfulness, sloth 

Please send completed papers (with references following the guidelines from the Chicago Manual of Style) of between 4,000 and 10,000 words to by January 15, 2020. Inquiries should be sent to the same address.