Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
NANO’s goal is “to invigorate humanities discourse by publishing brief, peer-reviewed reports with a fast turnaround enabled by new technologies. We welcome original notes from all fields in the humanities, particularly literature, film, history, music, rhetoric, philosophy, art, and digital humanities. We also welcome views from other disciplines that include, but are not limited to: psychology, sociology, engineering, various fields of technology, the hard sciences, and business.” Each NANO issue is built around a theme, inviting “new interpretations and new possibilities.” The editors have a no nonsense approach; they “abjure jargon, pandering, and ad hominem responses. [Their] ethos is brevity, clarity, and elegance. [They] do not accept fiction or poetry; [they] do accept images, videos, and sound recordings used in the presentation of notes. NANO welcomes creative reflections, spirited debate, and cross-disciplinary dialogue.”
Themes for the first eight issues of NANO were Navigation; Mystery, the Unknown, Surprise; Peer Review: New Possibilities; Competition and Play; Digital Humanities, Public Humanities; Cartography and Narratives; The Aesthetics of Trash; and Corporations and Culture. The theme for the latest available issue, Issue 9, is Intoxication. The issue editors note that, “rather than being “an experience without truth,” intoxication is potentially an extremely pleasurable truth. It is a moment when a person reduces him- or herself simply to a body that perceives itself as perceiving even if, from the outside, the sober witness sees only what appears to be the absence of (common) sense.” Articles in the issue explore intoxication from a variety of scholarly perspectives: “Intoxication and US Culture: An Interview with Craig Reinarman,” “Coming to (the History of) Our Senses: A New Methodology and Category of Analysis for Drug Historians?,” “The Price of Eternal Vigilance: Women and Intoxication,” “Intoxication as Feminist Pleasure: Drinking, Dancing, and Un-Dressing with/for Jenni Rivera,” “Sugar Highs and Lows: Is Sugar Really a Drug?,” “ “Fringes blown by the wind”: High Hopes for Expanded Consciousness in Benjamin and Brecht,” and “Afterword: Intoxication as Zone of Exception.”
The papers in Issue 9 are mostly scholarly treatments of selected aspects of different types of intoxication: alcohol, drug, and sugar-induced states. For the most part they do take new approaches to the consideration and study of various intoxicants and intoxicated states, presenting different contexts and interpretations based on literary, artistic, social, cultural, and biological considerations. The quality of both the research and writing is high, and will be useful for others to consult. A sort of pan-disciplinary grab-bag of quality scholarship served in an appealing format, NANO is a creatively-conceived and –executed publication. Recommended for digital humanists.