In this issue of Anglistica AION, we investigate the idea of “mess,” at once physically tangible and intellectually slippery, in global and transnational cultural productions and social practices. Thus, we envision “mess” as piles of seemingly unorganized materials, unsanitized spaces, dirty interstices that refuse to be cleaned and systematized. We are particularly fascinated by its potential impact on the study of what J. E. Muñoz broadly defined as “minoritarian subjects”: in fact, resistance to “normalcy” and the challenge to sanctioned symbolic “order” have been at the heart of late 20th century queer, ethnic, gendered, indigenous, and other identitarian studies. In addition, the notion of mess, messing-up, mash-ups, and morphing, both as theme and as cultural practice, may signal a productive gesture that rejects hierarchical organizing and linear/causal relations of value, thriving instead in simultaneity and precariousness, in overlapping and contested spaces and conflictual, even irreconcilable, dis/identifications. Far from advocating for a romanticized approach to “mess”, or for a flattening of the concept onto a negative view that sees it merely as a lack of clarity, order, or organization, we encourage investigations that explore both the aesthetics and the politics of mess, in a critical attempt to make sense of it.

Making Sense of Mess.
Marginal Lives, Impossible Spaces
Vol. 20, n. 1 (2016)
Editors: Vincenzo Bavaro and Shirley Geok-lin Lim
A double blind peer-reviewed journal, published twice a year by Università degli studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”'
Sheung Wan MTR

Sheung Wan MTR

labels and bags

labels and bags

Macau Ferry

Macau Ferry

black and white tiles

black and white tiles

Sahara boxes

Sahara boxes


Table of Contents

Vincenzo Bavaro

Making Sense of Mess: Marginal Lives, Impossible Spaces


Shirley Geok-lin Lim

POEMS: “Otherness”, “How To Find Your Things”, “The Hat”, “New Old News”, “Daylight Saving”, “The Hoarder’s Dream”

Timo Schrader

That Special, Inevitable Mess: El Spirit Republic de Puerto Rico and the Decolonization of the Imaginary

Serena Fusco

The Crystal Ceiling and the Mess Below: Fantasy and Erosion of Privilege in Breaking Bad

Fulvia Sarnelli

“Halved as I am, I was born doubled”. Inventively Messing up Hierarchies and Categorizations in Ruth Ozeki's Halving the Bones

Pahole Sookkasikon

Pussy, Paradise, and Elephants: Reading the Specter of Western Tourism and Leisure Through Thai and Hawaiian Literature

Tehezeeb Moitra

Unruly Bodies and Untamed Voices: Re-writing the Immortal through Tales of Amnesia

Irene Alison

Postcards from the Apocalypse: Contemplating (or Making Sense of?) Mess in War Photography

Paola Di Gennaro

Putting War and Trauma in Order: Patterns of Mess in War and Post-War Literature


Tamara Iaccio

Fanny Moghaddassi, Ghislain Potriquet, Anne Bandry-Scubbi, eds., Defining and Redefining Space in the English-Speaking World: Contacts, Frictions, Clashes (New Castle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholar Publishing, 2016)

Notes on Contributors

Notes on Contributors