Vol. 18, N. 1/2024 Interdisciplinary perspectives on cancel culture (eds. S. Di Piazza & A. Spena)
The pulling down of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol or those of Christopher Columbus in Richmond and Minneapolis, the literary crusades of #disrupttexts against Homer or Shakespeare, the shitstorms against Woody Allen, Philip Roth or Kanye West: they are all qualified as conduct of cancel culture. Even in Italy, the expression is now entering common usage; it was used to connote the defacement of Indro Montanelli’s statue in via Palestro in Milan, but also the request to remove Mussolini’s effigy from the Mise building or, a few years ago, the fuss raised by some passages of the promotional campaign dedicated by the pasta company “La Molisana” to “colonial” pasta formats, such as the “Tripoline” or the “Abissine rigate”.
Clearly, we are well on the way to trivialising that expression “cancel culture”, to making it a passe-partout referring to any public and widespread grievance against improprieties, real or presumed, of the most varied kind: from the most serious and demanding to the most futile and grotesque. Whether intentional or not, this trivialisation has the effect of debasing and stigmatising as a whole a phenomenon which, in reality, is very articulated and which, in its original inspiration, constitutes a reaction to historically encrusted forms of discrimination (first and foremost, racial and sexual), which – if one is willing to see them – emerge at every turn, in everyday or bureaucratic language, in toponymy, in monuments, in popular culture and in current practices.
On the other hand, cases are not rare in which the logic of cancel culture is applied in an evidently unreasonable or excessive manner in relation to events with respect to which it appears to be an entirely disproportionate reaction. And again, especially in its most extreme manifestations, cancel culture seriously runs the risk of resolving itself into particularly pervasive forms of restriction of freedom of expression.
Papers exploring, but not limited to, the following topics are welcome:
- the inextricable intertwining of cancel culture with language, starting with its stinging form represented by hate speech;
- the connections with the set of linguistic-argumentative strategies that are part of political correctness;
- the possibility of a “semiotics of cancellation”;
- the use of the syntagma “cancel culture” as a knock-out argument;
- the rhetorical-argumentative strategies in favour of, and against, cancel culture;
- the relationship between cancel culture and memory;
- analogies and differences with respect to damnatio memoriae;
- analogies and differences with respect to censorship;
- the complex relationship with ideology and polarisation.
We call for articles in Italian, English and French. All manuscripts must be accompanied by an abstract (max 250 words), a title and 5 keywords in English.
The manuscript must be prepared using the template at this link: http://www.rifl.unical.it/authortemplate/template_eng.doc.
All submissions must be prepared by the author for anonymous evaluation. The name, affiliation to an institution and title of the contribution should be indicated in a file different from that which contains the text. The contribution must be sent in electronic format .doc or .rtf to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instructions for authors:
Maximum contribution length:
40000 characters (including spaces) for articles (including bibliography and endnotes);
Submission deadline: February 15, 2024
Publication: June 2024