Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Philament is “designed to be a conduit for uninhibited academic debate, critical discussion, and creative expression over a broad range of topics within the literary arts and cultural studies. Submissions are welcome in the form of long and short articles, reviews, fictional work, and visual or multimedia experiments.” The journal is edited by “an editorial collective of postgraduate students from the University of Sydney but aims to develop an intellectual community that has both an interdisciplinary and intercampus nature,” and much of the content appears to be “early-career scholarship.” The editors invite submissions from “postgraduate scholars (and where appropriate, the general public)” in the categories of Features (academic papers), Excursions (non-peer reviewed, creative material, including Poetry, Prose/narrative, Short dramatic works, Multimedia, Visual art, Digital art or image experiments, Ficto-criticism, Reviews, Music and Sound Art, Opinion, Comment, and Image + text combinations ), and Conversations (responses to Features and Excursions pieces published in the current issue…? Question from reviewer: how does one write a response to a piece that is being published in the same, current issue as the response?).
The latest issue of Philament available is Issue 20 from February 2015 (the journal started publication in September 2003, publishing three issues per year till 2006 when it went to two issues per year, and then in November 2012 there was one issue, none in 2013, and one in March 2014, so safe to say publication periodicity is irregular). The current issue’s theme is “humour,” with a lengthy, footnoted Editorial Preface that begins, “How many editors does it take to produce a late issue of Philament?” Articles in the issue are “Mika Rottenberg's Video Installation Mary's Cherries: A Parafeminist "dissection" of the Carnivalesque,” “Little Big Dog Pill Explanations: Humour, Honesty, and the Comedian Podcast,” “Arrested Development: Can Funny Female Characters Survive Script Development Processes?,” “Dogsbody: An Overview of Transmorphic Techniques as Humour Devices and their Impact in Alberto Montt's Cartoons,” “Bakhtin and Borat: The Rogue, The Clown, and the Fool in Carnival Film,” “Talkin' Blak: Humour in Indigenous Australian Theatre, 1970-2000.” There are also two Excursion pieces (“Garzón, My Dad, and Us” and the amusing “Winnie The Pooh as told by Cormac McCarthy”), and three scholarly book reviews: “Review of Bark: Stories by Lorrie Moore,” “Review of Doing Emotions History,” and “Review of Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the Twenty-First Century.”
Themes of past issues include Open, Blue, Offbeat, Untitled, Ornament, Retrospective, XXX [read as triple-X], Model, Liminal, Surveillance, Bound, Habits & Habitat, Hauntings, Sense & Sensation, Absence, Borders, Regions, Worlds, Monstrosity, Time, and Surface/Depth. Philament may be a challenging read for all but those seeking lengthy post-Ph.D, post-metamodernist (yes, on beyond the post-postmodern) mutual mental transactions.