Call For Papers: "Why Evidence?"

The Sophists insisted that “truth” is not universal, but is produced in the clash of arguments—dissoi logoi. Plato’s Socrates mistrusted Sophistic oratory, because he viewed it as manipulating “truth” by making the weaker argument appear to be the stronger. Plato’s Socrates, as we all know, warned his contemporaries that democracy would give rise to demagogues whose power would rest in their willingness to say whatever the people want to hear.

It is uncanny to reflect on these very old texts while immersed in current news media. In the past year, we have seen the increased circulation of words and phrases like “fake news,” “post-truth,” and “post-fact.” Certain news media have found it necessary to publically declare their commitment to dropping euphemistic language and calling lies, “lies.” And of course, the United States has elected a president whose speech has been described, in Judith Butler’s words, as “not living in a world of evidence.”

In our fraught contemporary context, The Brock Review seeks critical, reflective, contemplative, insurrectionary, and/or multimodal articles, essays, and creative pieces that ask, excavate, challenge, respond to the question, “why evidence?” How might scholars, public intellectuals, and/or activists position the notion, the materiality, and the politics of evidence at a moment in which its currency is being fundamentally questioned? In the end, after all, questions about evidence are also questions about justice. In what ways might individuals work to reanimate public faith in evidence as an external object that both enables and limits the kinds of arguments that lead to the production of viable “truths?”

Possible approaches to this issue might include:

• Materialities of evidence;
• The evolution of evidence;
• The overdetermination of evidence;
• Rhetorics of evidence;
• Politics of evidence;
• Histories of evidence;
• Stories of evidence;
• The media and evidence;
• The “cover up”;
• Evidence and social justice;
• Evidence and the cell phone video;
• Evidence in the context of race, class, gender, sexuality, ableism;
• Historical precedents to the current state of evidence in public discourse;
• Negotiating/resisting a “post-fact” word in the fight against sexual assault;
• The persistence of untruths in (im)migration discourses, despite the evidence;
• Evidence of the historical, ethnic, linguistic, cultural diversity of North American populations;
• The place of evidence in First Nations/Native American resistance to settler colonialism;
• Evidence that the current moment does not signify anything new about evidence.

Scholarly Articles: The Brock Review is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal published by the
Humanities Research Institute at Brock University. Scholarly essays submitted to The Brock Review should not exceed 25 double-spaced pages in length.

Alternative Forms Welcome: The editor welcomes proposals that respond to this CFP in less traditional forms or in forms that do not fit neatly into traditional scholarship and yet deal integrally with the theme of the CFP (reflective essays, satire, dialogue, creative non-fiction, multi-modal texts, short stories, audio-video essays, etc.).

Essays should adhere to the latest edition of MLA Style and include endnotes (where necessary) and works cited. Manuscripts should be original works and should not be published (or under consideration for publication) in another venue. It is the sole responsibility of the author to obtain any necessary copyright permissions for images accompanying an essay. If your essay is accepted for publication, you must provide copies of these permissions before your essay can be published.

Proposals for the special issue (no more than 500 words) should be submitted directly to gcoskanjohhson@brocku.ca with the following subject line: “BR Special Issue,” by July 15, 2017. Manuscripts will then be submitted by Dec. 1, 2017 through the Brock Review online submission system at www.brocku.ca/brockreview. Each submission will be accompanied by a 100-word abstract and a brief biography of the author.

Creative work (i.e.: paintings, photographs, poetry, short fiction, or other types of work suitable to the online format of the journal) that work to engage the topic of the CFP should be submitted in an electronic format. In the event that your submission is too large of a file to submit online, CDs or DVDs may be sent to the address below. Creative work must be accompanied by a statement indicating the creator(s) of the piece have given consent to have it included in The Brock Review.

Send all communications/queries to:

Dr. Gale P. Coskan-Johnson
Editor, The Brock Review
c/o Department of English Language and Literature
500 Glenridge Ave.
St. Catharines, ON L2N 4C2
CANADA

gcoskanjohnson@brocku.ca