“Something in the world forces us to think.” (Gilles Deleuze)
The world provokes thought. Thinking is nothing but the human response to this provocation. Thus, the very nature of thought is to be the product of a provocation. This is why a genuine act of provocation cannot be the empty rhetorical gesture of the contrarian. It must be an experimental response to the historical necessity to act. Unlike the contrarian, we refuse to reduce provocation to a passive noun or a state of being. We believe that real moments of provocation are constituted by a series of actions that are best defined by verbs or even infinitives—verbs in a modality of potentiality, of the promise of action. To provoke is to intervene in the present by invoking an as yet undecided future radically different from what is declared to be possible in the present and, in so doing, to arouse the desire for bringing about change. By publishing short books from multiple disciplinary perspectives that are closer to the genres of the manifesto, the polemical essay, the intervention, and the pamphlet than to traditional scholarly monographs, “Provocations” hopes to serve as a forum for the kind of theoretical experimentation that we consider to be the very essence of thought.
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Provocations is a publication of the University of Nebraska Press edited by Marco Abel and Roland Végső. The series publishes short theoretical interventions (30,000 to 50,000-words) into contemporary debates within the humanities and social sciences. For inquiries about book proposals and manuscript submission, please contact the series editors.
Provocationsbooks.com is an independent website that publishes an online journal edited by Lydia Kerr and Nathan Gorelick. Each issue of the journal is devoted to a book published in the book series and features short reviews of the book.