Lateral is back. A pleasure to return, and a return on pleasure. We hope. We began with many promises. To craft a publishing currency that would be timeful, attendant to the spaces that thought might occupy, bearing a value as to how knowledge in all its materiality might accrue against the dulling algorithms of excellence sorted by rank. A lot to ask for, and there is much uncertainty between making a mark and leaving a marker. Our aim continues to be to expand these spaces in between, to open laterally the affinities and affiliations by which cultural studies moves and makes a difference in its worlds. Cultural studies, without doubt, has been long on promise, and with promise comes the prospect of disappointment. But this history is also the engagement with the evaluative criteria by which we would know we were getting more of what we wanted, and therefore a pursuit of the efficacies of combating various regimes of measure. Our promise has been as much to re-figure the means by which publication opens a social imaginary, a making public that makes publics, but of energizing the ways in which those with a commitment to cultural studies in all its guises might associate. Lateral is far from being an organ, a pound of flesh or a back bone of the Cultural Studies Association, but it remains an opening through which those various circulations might flow. How we might achieve this is a question we hope to engage in the entangled seriality of this second issue with this eleventh gathering of our association—and with what comes next. Please join us.
Lateral II is also, like the first, a braiding of research threads. This time we offer a triple helix. The Cultural Industries thread, curated by Jaafar Aksikas, presents a conversation between two nodes of cultural studies that move in and outside the academy Ien Ang’s Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney, and the Cultural Studies Praxis Collective at the University of Washington. This intersectoral work hints at an alter-economy, what it terms a negotiation with partners for critical purchase that complicates the reductive rubrics of neoliberal exchange. The Theory Thread, curated by Patricia Clough features a dossier on digital feminism assembled by Katherine Behar. This too is an effort to find value beyond measure, but also to refuse the algorithms of success, to assert the ungoogleable, the necessary failure, in pursuit of an anti-search engine that might power other reservoirs of thought. The Universities in Question Thread, is curated by student activists Megan Turner and Niall Twohig, and art from the smARTaction collective curated by Tina Orlandini. This dossier of manifestos and art works from various university mobilizations and occupations from Quebec, Cairo, Occupy Wall Street, University of California, and University of Puerto Rico, document the creativity that lies within critical mobilizations and the contagious proliferation of forms that this emergent politics takes.
All of this work is set to work in a design build especially for this issue by Jamie Skye Bianco and Zac DavidM. This build out of the design of the issue inverts what has become the standard proprietary formula for the proliferation of publications amidst the crisis of publishing. The promise to expand to fit remains very much on our horizon.