Seismography of Struggles

Towards a global history of critical and cultural journals

Journals are critical expression suports generating modernity at a global scale. They test artistic, litterary and political practices, and they decline themselves in experimentation laboratorys, writting workshops and political platforms.  Often ephemeral, emerging inside constraint spaces, they have allowed groups of intellectuals, artists and activists to produce thought archives and alternative narratives.

The persons behind the magazines inventoried on this site and the populations concerned by them have experienced colonialism, slavery, apartheid and genocide. Others have suffered violent dictatorships, strong political and cultural convulsions. The fight against slavery is perhaps at the source of what is called a critical and cultural journal, an object  at the source of modernity. Just like the fight against colonialism. If colonialism, by its nature, affected many communities in their social and cultural cohesion, it was also opposed with writing and gestures.

For more than two centuries, paper journals have been spaces of protean experiences. Born out of urgency and often in colonial contexts, driven by critical, political, aesthetic, poetic and literary ambitions,  journals have perpetuated graphic and scriptural inventiveness, whose rarity must be emphasized. They are constantly breaking into the struggles that women and men have waged for their emancipation. Made both of formal singularities and of political will directed towards human communities and their aspirations, journals,  fragile objects, often produced under conditions of strong material, social and political adversity, animated by noble causes and by the obstinacy of committed authors, are witnesses of a rare plastic power. Today, in the digital age, we must restore its contribution and put into perspective its formal, critical, aesthetic and political function on a global scale.

Global Journals Portal offers a census on non-European and/or diasporic critical and cultural periodicals, edited in the aftermaths of the revolutionary movements from the end of the 18th century to the end of the two blocks world in 1989.

It intends to offer an unprecedented resource capable not only of stimulating pioneering approaches for the field of Periodical studies, but also of signifying the strength and extent of intellectual and theoretical commitments over two centuries

The genealogical approach that led this work accounts, on a transnational scale, for unknown filiations and for common struggles,  as for unexpected narrations and interest communities. The portal was designed to ease the exploration of such connections: Journals are indexed with their contributors, whose physical and conceptual mobility can be measured. Thematic indexes acount for a global reflection on broader themes: the history of feminism, student movements, political-union activism, exile and diaspora experiences.

Born from collaborative project associating international institutions and researchers, this census aims to uncover rare periodicals,  whose trace has been buried by history, and to enhance research. The vitality and the variety of this editorial production will be likely to renew the glance on this multifaceted object, engine of subversion and instrument of emancipation, and more still, on the history of art and ideas.