poethical in Marczewska, Adema, McDonald & Trettien 2018

openness and circulation
in digital spaces to experiment with ‘the how’ of publishing, in the current knowledge
economy inevitably becomes the negative of publishable, i.e. the unpublishable. OA as
platform capitalism is openly hostile to OA’s poethical potential. In other words, the
REF-able version of OA takes little interest in openness and delimits what is at the
heart of the practice itself, i.e. what can be made open to the public (as a colleague
from one of the Russell Group universities tells me, this only includes three or fourstar rated publications in their case, with other works deemed not good enough to
be made available via the University’s website). To imagine OA as a poethical mode of
publishing is to envisage a process of publishing that pushes beyond the horizon set
by OA itself. It invites reading and writing of texts that might be typically thought of
as unreadable, unwriteable, and unpublishable.
The concept of the ‘horizon’ also interest Joan Retallack, who in Poethical Wager
(2003) explores the horizon as a way of thinking about the contemporary. Retallack
identifies two types of horizons: the pseudoserene horizon of time and the dynamic
coastline of historical poesis (14). Reading Retallack in the context of OA, I

is to suggest that ‘a certain poetics of responsibility’
(Retallack 2003, 3) seems to have been lost in the bigger
project of OA, responsibility to the community of writers and
readers, and responsibility to the project of publishing. OA as
a ‘poethical attitude’ (Retallack 2003, 3) rather than rampant
technodeterminism, need not be a project which we have to
conform to under the guidelines of the current REF, but can
rather be a practice we choose to engage and engage with,
under conditions that

as praxis,
then, is a tool for reshaping what constitutes the work of
publishing. What a commitment to open accessing, as opposed
to open access, makes possible, is a collective work against OA
as a tool of the neoliberal university and for OA as a poethical
form of publication: a fusion of making and doing, of OA as an
attitude and OA as form. But for poethical OA to become a
possibility, OA as praxis needs to emerge first.

To think about OA as praxis is to invite a conceptual shift
away from making publications OA and towards ‘doing OA’
as a complete project. OA seen as such ceases to exist as yet

in Response
to Neoliberalism.” Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology 4.
Malik, Rachel. 2017. “Horizons of the Publishable: Publishing in/as Literary Studies.” ELH 75
(3): 707-735.
Retallack, Joan. 2003. The Poethical Wager. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Srnicek, Nick. 2017. Platform Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.

² see: Sarah Kember, “Opening Out from
Open Access: Writing and Publishing in
Response to Neoliberalism,” Ada: A Journal

of a poetics. This, Retallack
points out, always involves a wager, a staking of something
that matters on an uncertain outcome—what Mouffe and
Laclau have described as taking a decision in an undecideable
terrain (Mouffe 2013, 15). For Retallack a poethical attitude
thus necessarily comes with the ‘courage of the swerve’,
where, ‘swerves (like antiromantic modernisms, the civil rights
movement, feminism, postcolonialist critiques) are necessary
to dislodge us from reactionary allegiances and nosta

ts out how slavery and
colonialism, often misconstrued in linear thinking as bygone
remnants of our past, are actively performed in and through
our present, grounded in that past, a past foundational to
our consciousness. Using fractal thinking as a poethical tool,
Ferreira da Silva hopes to break through the formalisations
of linear thought, by mapping blackness, and modes of
colonialism and racial violence not only on time, but on various
forms of space and place, exploring them explicitly from a
four-dimensional perspective (Bradley 2016). As such, she
explains, poethical thinking, ‘deployed as a creative (fractal)
imaging to address colonial and racial subjugation, aims to
interrupt the repetition characteristic of fractal patterns’
(Ferreira da Silva 2016) and refuses ‘to reduce what exists—
anyone and every

Future of Scholarly
Communication”. Journal of Electronic Publishing 13 (2). http://dx.doi.org/
Mouffe, Chantal. 2013. Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically. London; New York: Verso
Retallack, Joan. 2004. The Poethical Wager. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Threadgold, Terry. 1997. Feminist Poetics Poiesis, Performance, Histories. London; New
York: Routledge.
Tkacz, Nathaniel. 2014. Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness. Chicago; London:
University of Ch


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