Theory and Criticism
Research journals where architecture students can publish
Are there any journals/magazines for students of architecture to try to publish? I know at my school we have to do a lot of theory-oriented research as part of the curriculum but there are no good places to try to publish. This is fine if you know you just want to go into practice but what if you are thinking about focusing on theory?
Mickey Peavler
Research journals where architecture students can publish
Dear Peavler,

I'm not sure if there are any magazines that accept submissions from students of architecture, but I know a few magazines published by students that focus on theory. One of these is MIT's Thresholds, which is published two times a year. Its editor is often a PhD or master's student in the History, Theory and Critism (HTC) Program at MIT and it accepts submissions from students, faculty or practitioners. Columbia University in New York also appears to have a few similar publications, both for theory and for studios.

I guess submitting to magazines like Thresholds is always an option. But if you have so much good material produced at your school, why not start your own magazine? You can search for funds at your school and you do not even have to produce a print copy; you can publish it for so much cheaper online.

Ozgur Basak Alkan
Research journals where architecture students can publish
Here's the latest call for papers for Thresholds, the journal I have mentioned in my response above:


    "All the symbols of the carnival idiom are filled with the sense of the gay relativity of prevailing truths and authorities. We find here a characteristic logic, the peculiar logic of the 'inside out' (à l'envers), of a continual shifting from top to bottom, from front to rear, of numerous parodies and travesties, humiliations, profanations, comic crownings and uncrownings."

Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World

    "We all, in one way or another, dimly feel that not only punctual and local forms of cultural resistance and guerilla warfare but also even overtly political interventions like those of The Clash are all somehow secretly disarmed and reabsorbed by a system of which they themselves might well be considered a part, since they can achieve no distance from it."

Frederic Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

We are really quite at home with the notion of inversion. In a culture of avant-garde aesthetic production and critical, vanguardist scholarship, to be "subversive," to mis-appropriate iconographic language, to mis-use architectural materials, or to deconstruct literary texts is more or less routine procedure. In fact, if one were to agree with Jameson, then any attempts at subversion would not really seem so subversive, after all, as such attempts are often entangled within the very power structures which they challenge. And yet this begs further consideration: Firstly what does it really mean to 'invert' something, and what, if anything, are such inversions meant to achieve?

To follow Bakhtin's conception of the carnival, the inverse of a thing is not its opposite so much as it is the thing itself turned on its head, transformed so as to comically reveal its own undoing. What could constitute such an inversion, however -- what it could actually mean to reverse something in such a way that its original significance is still detectable but in an altered form -- presents a conundrum that might be grasped intuitively but somehow rebuffs clear definition. Is an inversion a mirror-image, an antithesis, or simply a re-working? In the work of several contemporary artists, such as Ken Jacobs, Rodney Graham, and Natalie Jeremijenko, art objects and media (film, photographs, and trees) are literally presented upside down. In such cases, inversions may serve to disorient and dislocate; they may allude to processes of perception and representation (as both vision and photography function by transmitting inverted images or negatives); or they may simply question standard assumptions and expectations.

Are inversions really intended to transform cultural norms or might they simply be fleeting, self-contained and self-referential disruptions? Embedded within the notion of inversion is an implied reciprocity ("crownings and uncrownings"), whereby a thing that has been reversed may eventually be righted. Bearing in mind then this cyclical tendency, is the logic of inversion really so incompatible with a capitalist system that absorbs all disruptions? Perhaps the real trick of the carnivalesque inversion is simply that it reveals the fundamental ambiguity of right-side-up versus upsidedown. This issue of Thresholds invites different interpretations of what inversions could mean, and asks how processes of inversion, subversion, and reversion might impact our aesthetic, social, and political culture.

Thresholds invites submissions, including but not limited to scholarly works, from all fields. Thresholds attempts to print only original material. Manuscripts for review should be less than words, including notes. Text must be formatted in accordance with The Chicago Manual of Style. Spelling should follow American convention and quotations must be translated into English. All submissions must be submitted electronically, on a CD or disk, accompanied by hard copies of text and images. Text should be saved as Microsoft Word or RTF format, while any accompanying images should be sent as TIFF files with a resolution of at least 300 dpi at 8" x 9" print size. Figures should be numbered clearly in the text. Image captions and credits must be included with submissions. It is the responsibility of the author to secure permissions for image use and pay any reproduction fees. A brief author bio must accompany the text.

Submission Deadline: October 29, 2004 Please send materials or correspondence to: Ginger Nolan, Editor Thresholds MIT Department of Architecture Room 7-337 77 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139

Ozgur Basak Alkan


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