Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Introduction

Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Introduction

Article excerpt

A fortieth birthday can come as a shock, not only to the celebrant but also to his or her parents. Mosaic turned forty this year. So far at least, the anniversary has not occasioned a mid-life crisis, although it has encouraged us at Mosaic to reflect on the journal's past four decades, to marvel at the changes it has made over these years, to take pride in its accomplishments, and to acknowledge the enormous opportunities, and challenges, that face the journal in the decades ahead.

Mosaic was founded in the year of Canada's centennial, taking its name and its cosmopolitan format from the country's multicultural mosaic. It set out to provide wide-ranging humanities scholarship with an international forum, adopting the original subtitle, a journal for the comparative study of literature and ideas. The journal was ahead of its time when, in 1980, it changed its subtitle to the present one, a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature, and announced that its mandate would henceforth be an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary one. This mandate readied the journal for many of the changes brought to humanities disciplines and methodologies by developments in such areas as literary and critical theory, feminism, ecology, and ethics, and by academic movements that called traditional boundaries into question. These boundaries were not simply institutional and disciplinary ones. They stemmed from ways of thinking national, sexual, racial, species, and other sites of difference through dual polarities, through a knot of oppositions that will require a very long time to untie. Recent Mosaic special issues--on medicine, architecture, spectrality, the garden, the photograph, the animal, and the many legacies of Jacques Derrida--suggest the extent of boundary crossing that is involved in current explorations of difference.

Always at the heart of these explorations is the question of technology. In today's world, it is no longer possible for humanities disciplines to position themselves in a place apart from telecommunications and techno-scientific rationality. Here is one of Derrida's legacies to us: his thinking of what he called the "logic of autoimmunity," whereby what would be banished to the outside has been working all along from within, as both promise and threat. …

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