What Is Bad Subjects?

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A brief description of what the Bad Subjects project is.
"Surprisingly lively and smart."
Robert Rossney, in the San Francisco Chronicle
"[Bad Subjects is] the wired left."
Jack Kapica, in the Toronto Globe and Mail
"It revels in a self-consciously renegade spirit."
Liz McMillen, in The Chronicle of Higher Education
"A bridge between the academy and people working nine-to-five jobs"
Annenberg Online Journalism Review
"For those who would like to develop a more seductive and appealing language than neo-Marxist or post-structuralist jargon."
Elaine Showalter, Times Literary Supplement
"Some of the most straightforward, readable, and most importantly, relevant prose you're likely to find."
San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Four stars."
Magellan WWW Reviews

Bad Subjects is a collective that publishes a magazine (Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life) and provides access to it via a public-access website. In 1998, Bad Subjects founded a small educational nonprofit corporation, also called Bad Subjects, which promotes the progressive use of new media and print publications. Donations to the nonprofit go toward funding printed copies of the magazine Bad Subjects (distributed for free), and other related projects, such as Bad Subjects books. Bad Subjects seeks to revitalize progressive politics in retreat. We think too many people on the left have taken their convictions for granted. So we challenge progressive dogma by encouraging readers to think about the political dimension to all aspects of everyday life. We also seek to broaden the audience for leftist and progressive writing, through a commitment to accessibility and contemporary relevance.

Bad Subjects was founded in September 1992, at UC Berkeley. Since then it has circulated widely, and today we actually have about 250,000 readers from around the world per month. You can use our online facilities to find articles on any topic, or browse our current or recent issues.

Feel free to join in! We look forward to your participation.

Back Issues
Upcoming Issues

Call for Papers

Bad Subjects Issue #87:

Weapons

This issue investigates the topic of weapons in the American psyche. From words, to art, to handguns to drones, creative, personalized, miniaturized and open culture towards weaponry serves as an unsettling, disturbing and ultimately symbolic realm of our national imagination. It is the freedom to arm ourselves against real and perceived threats, to challenge, dream, dissent, and attack. It is an intellectual territory to which we are simultaneously desensitized and drawn.

What are weapons in today’s reality, consciousness and culture?  

September 11th induced—and our government has promoted—social anxieties for a decade or more with the invention of the War on Terror. American culture has in this time expressed a fear of invasion and of the Other, similar in form and rhetoric to the 1950s Red Scare. This interest in and fascination with firearms, however, goes back further . Firearms have held a prominent place in American history and culture for centuries, and indeed, the notion of weaponry extends far beyond what can be worn, used, or carried. Claes Oldenburg’s Ray Gun Museum is a tremendously funny artwork, a huge collection of found plastic, wood, and metal gun-shaped oddities which talks about guns in the playful, toylike, and social imagination. Weapons are also glamorized. The gangster and the gun moll are favorite film characters, and the military-industrial complex is frequently celebrated on screen in films like Iron Man, Full Metal Jacket and Zero Dark Thirty.

  Gun violence is very much present in nonfiction media. The terms lone gunman and single, isolated shooter ricochet haplessly, further establishing a male/masculine historic relationship to gun killing, as Rebecca Solnit pointed out recently in connection with the UC Santa Barbara Isla Vista shootings. While massacres of this type are not common, America still leads per capita in gun related deaths, and we possess no cogent gun control laws.

There are many ideas to consider about weapons. Firearms impact the history of the American republic and might predict its future. Clive Bundy's incident made armed vigilante groups railing against the Federal government visible. What does this mean for the "revolutionary" status of the United States? As a people, are we weapon happy? A weapons-oriented mentality everywhere flavors the stew.

  Bad Subjects welcomes articles which will generate greater understanding about this complicated, diverse topic, of 1,000 to 3,000 words. Deadline for submission is October 1, 2014. Please send submissions in .rtf format, along with the author’s contact information and a brief author bio of 100 words to Editors Molly Hankwitz and Tamara Watkins at submissions.badsubjects@gmail.com .

 
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Collective Action
Collective ActionCollective Action, the second Bad Subjects anthology, is available today at your favorite local independent bookstore. (Get the first one, too.)
 

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