VAGABONDS is a new series of radical pamphlet-essays aimed at inflaming the radical imagination in print and online.

Both the series and this site are under construction. But we are looking for pitches for our first series of texts.

About VAGABONDS

VAGABONDS is a series of radical, rigorous and resonant pamphlet-essays to fan the flames of discontent, launching later in 2019.

A venue for unpublishable radical texts.

Too combative and polemic for polite academic publishing and too patient and thorough for the online activist press, VAGABONDS are at home in the pocket or on the self of anyone who believes it’s not too late to choose socialism over barbarism.

Anti-colonial, queer, feminist, and militating for collective action and radical joy (including the joy of reading), VAGABONDS aims to publish some of the best and most important writing for the struggles of tomorrow in short, accessible, passionate and shareable form.

VAGABONDS texts are about 12,000-15,000 words long, peer-reviewed through a generous and generative process and published in print and online.

For the radical imagination

The key aim of VAGABONDS is to inflame the radical imagination, a social force rather than an individual possession. As Robin DG Kelley shows, the radical imagination is generated not only by ideological debate but also in dialogue with social struggles, art and creativity. As such, VAGABONDS seeks to create an infrastructure for the radical imagination, towards the decolonization of our dreams and the liberation of our collective potentials.  Its authors’ practices fall within, against and beyond the spheres of activity known as art, activism and scholarship

As such, VAGABONDS seeks to create an infrastructure for the radical imagination, towards the decolonization of our dreams and the liberation of our collective potentials.  Its authors’ practices fall within, against and beyond the spheres of activity known as art, activism and scholarship.

VAGABONDS is non-sectarian and anti-disciplinary. In general terms, we seek to celebrate, embolden and make irresistible grassroots struggles for justice, autonomy, creativity and the commons. We wish to deepen our understanding of how systems of power are reproduced and how struggles might not only challenge those systems, but in their turn reproduce other systems and patterns of cooperation and care. We want to support an unrelenting but joyful critique of the existing political, economic, cultural and sociological situation of our world. VAGABONDS take inspiration from people’s resistance, everyday and in movements, as the force that animates history and social life. We do not prioritize any particular radical political agenda and encourage vigorous debate, though we loathe competitiveness as the enemy of our solidarity and freedom.

Features that set VAGABONDS apart

  • Radical provocations – With an initial goal of publishing three pamphlets a year VAGABONDS is seeking work that will push the limits of our thinking, feeling and doing. We are commissioning works that feel like they don’t have a home elsewhere. VAGABONDS are urgent and direct, but rise above the din of ephemeral online debate.
  • Global distribution – We are in negotiations with [an international press] to cooperate in publishing VAGABONDS with world-wide marketing and distribution. We are also exploring a partnership with ROAR Magazine to help (excerpts of) VAGABONDS texts and ideas reach a broader audience.
  • In solidarity –  VAGABONDS are always in dialogue with (but never subordinate to) current grassroots struggles for ecological and social justice, peace, and equality and against racism, colonialism heteropatriarchy and other systems of domination. We see it as our role to help develop the ideas that will inspire tomorrow’s uprisings. Yet we also prize the generative autonomy, iconoclasm and potential of authors.  
  • Anti-disciplinary –  while VAGABONDS encourages contributions from dissident and ejected academics we do not accept disciplinary boundaries or wish to be constrained by purely academic debates. We are excited by theoretically informed and complicated explorations of real social conditions, as well as discussions of history, strategy and potentials of grassroots struggles. VAGABONDS authors are often heralded under the banner of sociology, cultural studies, philosophy and political economy but are also sometimes artists, activists, autodidacts and other well-spoken malcontents
  • For those who think writing can change the world – VAGABONDS texts are
    • radical (drive at the root of problems and demand transformative solutions),
    • rigorous (in living dialogue with the thinking and doing of our time) and
    • resonant (written well, with a broad intellectually-engaged audience in mind). We aim to publish beautifully furious texts that are a pleasure to read.
  • Multimedia publishing and online presence – VAGABONDS will have several complementary components. Primarily, they will be published as physical booklets for sale in bookstores and book fairs around the world and online. A year following their print and e-book publication, VAGABONDS will become freely available as PDFs. Preceding publishing, the VAGABONDS team at RIVAL and the publisher will work to place excerpts in online and print periodicals and also arrange interviews with the author on noted podcasts and other text and audio publications. Further, the VAGABONDS team will work with the author to roll out a series of complimentary online components, potentially including YouTube interviews, online seminars and launch events. We are also exploring the possibility of creating audiobook versions of our texts.
  • Generative editorial and peer support – The VAGABONDS publishing process works like this: the editor(s) will communicate with potential authors to generate ideas and proposals, which will be put to an international editorial advisory committee twice a year. Authors whose proposals are accepted work in dialogue with the editor(s) to generate a draft which is then subject to a process of open and generative peer review: the author(s) and editor(s) together select two respected and generous comrades/colleagues to read the draft and, usually in the format of an online meeting, meet to discuss its merits and challenges. Following any revisions, the draft is then submitted to Pluto for a final editorial pass and then sent to copyediting and publication. This process foregrounds the generative relationships and forms of dialogue that are truly at the heart of any radical project and all publishing.
  • Publishing honourarium – RiVAL supplies a $1,000-CAD honourarium for authors upon publication. While it does not compensate for labour, this gift aims to recognize the contribution of authors. We encourage but do not require that authors whose contributions are otherwise remunerated (for instance, securely-employed academics for whom writing texts is “part of the job”) to waive this honourarium to allow for greater funding to be given to those less privileged in the capitalist rat-race.

Vagabonds, we

VAGABONDS takes its name reclaims a term by which the dispossessed of the world were criminalized. The term vagabondage in particular comes from Western Europe, where elites made it a crime to be without a master. But the term also recalls the way systems of domination including capitalism, patriarchy, racism and colonialism have always depended on controlling and criminalizing the self-organized movement of people, relationships, identities, pleasures, bodies and ideas. VAGABONDS know that we owe a debt to those ancestors who struggled and fell, and that this debt cannot be settled cheaply. Like those restless ghosts, VAGABONDS is an intimate outside agitator, a visitor bearing a fruit that tastes like a home we almost forgot.

RiVAL: The ReImagining Value Action Lab

The ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL), co-directed by Max Haiven and Cassie Thornton, is the host of the VAGABONDS project. RiVAL is a workshop for the radical imagination, social justice and decolonization at Lakehead University, located in Anishinaabe territories on Lake Superior and active online around the world.

Publishing process

We aim to see the publication of pamphlets within 6-9 months of proposals. Here are the steps

  1. PROPOSAL: Authors contact the editor to discuss a project and develop a proposal
  2. PROPOSAL REVIEW: Twice a year the Editorial Advisory Board reviews and prioritizes all submitted proposals. The most urgent and topical proposals move towards publication.
  3. DRAFTING: Based on feedback from the editor and the board, the author(s) develop a draft of their essay, usually over the next 90 days
  4. PEER REVIEW: Once the author(s) and editor feel the draft is ready, it is sent to two peer reviewers selected by the author(s) and editor. Peer review takes the form of an online meeting to discuss the draft.
  5. EDITING: Based on this meeting, the author(s) edit the draft and, once the author(s) and editor feel the draft is ready it is sent to the press for vetting and production.
  6. PRODUCTION: Presuming they agree to publish the text, the press will work with the author(s) on production (editing, copyediting, proofing) towards both print and electronic publication
  7. MEDIA: Meanwhile, the author(s) and editor will work together to develop a multi-media plan to accompany the pamphlet’s publication (eg. video and audio versions; excerpts in other publications; webinars; launch events; etc.)
  8. PUBLICATION

Editorial advisory board

The following list is incomplete and changing, but here are some of the vagabonds who have so far agreed to help with the project.

  • Max Haiven (managing editor)
  • Phanuel Antwi
  • Isa Fremeaux
  • Stefano Harney
  • Brian Holmes
  • John Jordan
  • Eunsong Kim
  • Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou
  • Alana Lentin
  • Eli Meyerhoff
  • Dylan AT Miner
  • Nick Mirzoeff
  • Jerome Roos
  • Cassie Thornton

Frequently Asked Questions

Which publisher is VAGABONDS working with

We are in negotiations with our top pick, but until they confirm we don’t want to announce it. Rest assured it is a well-respected radical press with a strong international reach.

Does VAGABONDS accept creative work (not just essays)

We would certainly be open to proposals, though our mainstay is the radical essay form.

Does VAGABONDS accept pitches from those outside the university?

Absolutely and enthusiastically. In fact, we are completely uninterested in conventional academic debates.

What are the possibilities for images in publications

While we haven’t nailed down a publishing agreement we are assuming that black and white images will be possible in print. Authors will be responsible for securing reproduction rights.

Prototype

Submit

Please use the form below so we can be sure to keep all you information in one place.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Max Haiven, VAGABONDS managing editor at mhaiven [at] lakeheadu [dot] ca

If the form below fails to appear, please access it here: https://forms.gle/z5ZsNDarrNyDrmv59