Our times, worldwide, are increasingly and violently marked by a fault between integration and fragmentation in terms of territories, communities, ideologies, epistemologies, and disciplines. With successive and accelerating globalization phases, cultural and political spaces of communication and conflict that seemed to be clearly delimited when the illusion of “self-ruled” national enclosures was still prevalent have become unstable and entangled.
In response to this scenario, theory, reflection, and research on cosmopolitanism as a living practice, an ethical imperative, or a hermeneutic methodology have been greatly redeveloped in the last three decades. This resurgence, associated with the evaluation of the benefits of economic and cultural globalization and all sorts of resistance to its destructive aspects, makes it clear that any talk or practice of cosmopolitanism is political and therefore ethical by definition—of immediate concern for governments and citizens, for philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists.
All kinds of cosmopolitanism imply cross cultural human relationships rather than the mere temporary or permanent occupation of a natural space. Cosmopolitanism does not simply describe a condition of mobility, rootlessness, or hybridity. It is a way of inhabiting the world that entails constant self-interrogation, creative interaction with other peoples, cultures, and languages, and a political sense of justice always to come. A cosmopolitan approach–holistic by definition but not totalizing—upholds an idea of culture that is plural and dynamic, transcending both imperialist accumulation and anti-imperialist claims to particularism, utopian drives to universalist projects and postmodern indifference. Cosmopolitan thought offers critical tools to undermine an ontology of distinction, separation, and exclusion. It rejects mental endogamy in the name of a shared ideal of coexistence based on reciprocal comparison and the negotiation of performable values. Beyond the territoriality of nations, it rethinks community outside of narrow identitarian interests.
The bulk of cosmopolitan thought comes from social scientists and, to a lesser degree, from philosophers, whose main concern, however, is not to connect different cultural and linguistic communities. For their part, literary or arts scholars often focus on experiences of displacement or on explicit multicultural and plurilingual contents taken as expressions of migrant or exilic lives, but not necessarily as a framework placing a text or work of art in the world, and the world in it. What is still needed, hence, is a vigorous inter- and transdisciplinary effort to bring the theoretical imagination to bear on cultural cosmopolitanism at large, keeping literature, the arts, and other creative expressions at the center of a wide range of contemporary and historical practices and influences.
Literature and the arts constitute a privileged empirical territory, a living border between everyday life and possible reality models that cultural cosmopolitanism explores. They hence remain forceful loci of intellectual and ethical resistance, repositories of the creative non-binary vision that is also at the core of cosmopolitan hope. By engaging with the actively relational character of cultural cosmopolitanism without erasing cultural differences, the imaginary mode of understanding intrinsic to aesthetic experience, analysis, and creation can enable an anti-essentialist, anti-hegemonic poiesis that is not grounded in a received, imposed, or intrinsic notion of the self, whether individual or collective, paving the way for forms of belonging across and beyond borders.
The open-access scholarly journal Migrating Minds: Journal of Cultural Cosmopolitanism intends to create transdisciplinary bridges from currently underrepresented cosmopolitan studies in literature, culture, media and the arts to the more established debates on cosmopolitanism in philosophical, sociological, and political thought, rather than the other way around. The founders and Editors-in-chief conceived this journal as a platform to expand the exploration they initiated with their essay collection Migrating Minds: Theories and Practices of Cultural Cosmopolitanism (2022). They aspire to amplify the voices of literary, art, and cultural scholars from diverse backgrounds who can offer innovative perspectives in dialogue with contemporary theorists as well as with the historical key proponents and critics of diverse forms of cosmopolitanisms.
Aims and scope
Migrating Minds: Journal of Cultural Cosmopolitanism is a peer-reviewed, semi-annual, free open-access scholarly journal devoted to interdisciplinary humanistic research on cultural cosmopolitanism with a comparative approach. Hosted by Georgetown University, Washington D.C., and co-supported by the “Plurielles” Research Group (new window), Bordeaux Montaigne University, France, it intends to be a forum for timely interventions and debates about theoretical, historical, political, and practical implications of cosmopolitanism that emerge from aesthetic expressions, genres, and media, under different modes of production and reception, across linguistic and cultural landscapes.
Migrating Minds: Journal of Cultural Cosmopolitanism seeks to offer a historically and logically-constructed global view of cultural cosmopolitanism as theory, practice, and methodology able to transcend mere utopian ideals and static representations of peoples, environments, and their symbolic productions. It welcomes original, theoretically insightful contributions that, through a dialogue with literatures and cultures, address cosmopolitanism in its spatiotemporal pluralities, entanglements, powers, and limits. It invites submissions that engage with the philosophical, political, and ethical principles underlying cosmopolitanism, or with theoretical approaches to cosmopolitan thinking, or with the intellectual history that led to its contemporary significance. Transcending both universalist and exclusionary paradigms, authors may explore sites of difference and dissidence that challenge idiosyncratic identities and homogeneous places. They may propose new ways of thinking about the relationship between space and movement, or investigate territorial and temporal interrelationships of the global and the local. They may address literary, aesthetic, and cultural interactions in unexpected works, places, and epochs, not only claiming new forms of belonging but also pluralizing the world to which one belongs, enriching it with new connections. They will thus try to better understand and overcome the dichotomies between center and peripheries, sedentary and nomadic, home and outside, untranslatable and translatable, communitarian and open cultures.
Submissions may include case studies and theoretical reflections on cultural cosmopolitanism investigating hitherto neglected or underexamined literary, artistic, and media productions, cultural manifestations, or linguistic and geographical areas in connection with the following disciplinary domains and methodological approaches (but not exclusively):
Anthropology; Border studies; Critical refugee studies; Cultural historiography; Cultural sociology; Ecology, ecocriticism, environmental studies; Exile, migration, and diaspora studies; Feminism, gender, sexuality, queer and transgender studies; Film and media studies; General linguistics, sociolinguistics; Global South studies; Mediterranean studies; Nativism and indigeneity; Oceanic and island studies; Performance studies; Philosophy; Poetics and aesthetics; Politics and cosmopolitics; Postcolonial studies; Psychology and psychoanalysis; Race and ethnic studies; Transatlantic studies; Translation studies, history and theories of translation; Transnational and globalization studies; Visual arts; World literature.
Format and mode of publication
Each issue of Migrating Minds: Journal of Cultural Cosmopolitanism comprises 5-7 articles (6000-8000 words each, including bibliography and endnotes) and several book reviews (1000 words each) and/or review essays (3000 words each). Research notes and interviews may also be accepted periodically.
The journal also publishes special issues and special sections organized and led by experts and subject to the same peer review process as regular issues.
English is the main language of the journal. English translations of articles originally written in other languages may be accepted.
Open access policy
The journal allows readers to download, copy, distribute, print, search, link to the full texts of its articles, and use them for any other lawful purpose.
Indexing and abstracting
Migrating Minds. Journal of Cultural Cosmopolitanism is indexed and abstracted in the MLA International Bibliography and Google Scholar.