[csaa-forum] Liquid Books: Call for Collaboration from Culture Machine Journal

Gary Hall gary.hall at connectfree.co.uk
Tue Mar 10 19:57:27 CST 2009

Apologies for cross posting...


Culture Machine is seeking open collaboration on the writing and editing 
of the first volume of its online Liquid Books series, New Cultural 
Studies: The Liquid Theory Reader: 

The first provisional version of this volume - New Cultural Studies: The 
Liquid Theory Reader (Version 1.0) - has been put together by Gary Hall 
and Clare Birchall as a follow-up to their 2006 ‘woodware’ edited 
collection, New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory (Edinburgh 
University Press and Georgia University Press).

 From here on in, however, the idea is for this new online ‘liquid book’ 
– to which everyone is invited to contribute – to be written and 
developed in an open, co-operative, decentralised, multi-user-generated 
fashion: not just by its initial ‘authors’, ‘editors’ or ‘creators’, but 
by a multiplicity of collaborators distributed around the world.

In this way, the New Cultural Studies Reader will be freely available 
for anyone, anywhere, to read, reproduce and distribute. Once they have 
requested access, users will also be able to rewrite, add to, edit, 
annotate, tag, remix, reformat, reinvent and reuse this reader, or 
produce alternative parallel versions of it, however they wish. In fact, 
they are expressly invited and encouraged to do so, as the project 
relies on this intervention.

It is hoped that the New Cultural Studies: Liquid Theory Reader project 
will raise a number of important questions for ideas of academic 
authorship, attribution, publication, citation, accreditation, fair use, 
quality control, peer review, copyright, intellectual property, content 
creation and cultural studies. For instance, with its open editing and 
free content the project decenters the author and editor functions, 
making everyone potential authors/editors. It also addresses an issue 
raised recently by Geert Lovink: why are wikis not utilised more to 
create, develop and change theory and theoretical concepts, instead of 
theory continuing to be considered as the ‘terrain of the sole author 
who contemplates the world, preferably offline, surrounded by a pile of 
books, a fountain pen, and a notebook’? At the same time, in ‘What Is an 
Author?’, Foucault warns that any attempt to avoid using the concept of 
the author to close and fix the meaning of the text risks leading to a 
limit and a unity being imposed in a different way: by means of the 
concept of the ‘work’. So to what extent does users’ ability to rewrite, 
remix, reversion and reinvent this liquid ‘book’ render untenable any 
attempt to impose a limit and a unity on it as a ‘work’? And what are 
the political, ethical and social consequences of such ‘liquidity’ for 
ideas that depend on the concept of the ‘work’ for their effectivity: 
those concerning attribution, citation, copyright, intellectual 
property, academic success, promotion, tenure, and so on?

To find out more, please go to:

For a quick and easy-to-read guide on how to collaborate on the writing 
and editing of New Cultural Studies: The Liquid Theory Reader, please visit:

Clare Birchall and Gary Hall

Gary Hall
Professor of Media and Performing Arts
School of Art and Design, Coventry University
Director of the Cultural Studies Open Access Archive
Co-founder of the Open Humanities Press
My website http://www.garyhall.info

New book: Digitize This Book!: The Politics of New Media, or Why We Need Open Access Now 


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