Contrivers’ Review is a non-profit digital publication featuring essays, book reviews, and interviews. Its primary mission is to reconnect the highly professionalized discourses of the humanities and social theory with broader and more diverse audiences. Contrivers’ Review takes seriously the task of critique, while remaining respectful of the limits of theory’s ambitions.
In contrast to much writing on the internet, Contrivers’ Review eschews instant commentary. We encourage thoughtful, productive conversations. Constructive reactions to essays and criticism are accepted via email (see more in our submissions section).
As editors and community-builders, we wish to foster an inclusive, though at times contentious, discourse that challenges readers to think past clichéd concepts and narratives.
Luke Thomas Mergner received a M.A. in Political Science from Indiana University in 2010, where he studied critical and democratic theory.
Peter Sinnott, Jr. received his Ph.D. in English from Purdue University in 2014.
Çağlar Köseoğlu received a M.A. in Aesthetics and Politics at California Institute of the Arts. In 2015, his first collection of poetry, 34, was published as a chapbook by Stanza Press in the Netherlands. Currently, he is a guest writer at the Flemish literary journal nY.
Contrivers’ Review encourages unsolicited ideas and pieces. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We publish a balance of theory, analysis, opinion, and thoughtful reactions. While no subject is disqualified, we encourage authors to contact us with ideas rather than finished pieces. When submitting please consider our general categories: articles, reviews, responses, and interviews.
Contrivers’ Review uses a version of Chicago Style modified for use on the web. Footnotes and hyperlinks are encouraged. We hope to have a more comprehensive guide for writers in the near future. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Digital Publishing and Labor Ethics
Our publication operates within the market forces of the publishing world, and this industry often unfairly exploits the writers who provide content. This is a problem.
The availability of low cost, or free, skilled writers depresses the labor market, negatively affecting those who write in order to make a living and cannot afford to give work away for free. The depressed labor market is not a problem for those who have earned economic and social capital in other areas. They can freely donate their time and energy to publishing work on subjects and ideas to which they have strong personal commitments. Unpaid writing is important and contributes to the vitality of thought on the left, but free labor from intellectuals and academics needs to be seen and understood in the context of the labor market for writers as a whole.
However, placing the onus on writers exclusively misses the new realities of the publishing economy. Many digital publications with otherwise healthy revenue solicit writing in return for branding or a platform. This model trades compensation for voice. The barriers to market entry have also correspondingly lowered. The same digital technology that has marked the decline of traditional print has made possible the rejuvenation of small literary and intellectual journals. The difficulty of funding these projects, and ensuring their long term viability, results in the free, underpaid, and undervalued labor of writers. This is the current Faustian bargain of digital publishing, but publishers, writers, and readers need to develop alternatives. However, we cannot change this system change overnight.
Contrivers’ Review takes this issue seriously, and as our ability to cover our expenses grows, our compensation for writers will grow as well. Paying writers a fair wage is not an ideal or a lofty goal, but it is the only ethical decision. Compensation is not a business expense to be mitigated by a depressed market for labor but a commitment to the value of the work of our contributors. Right now, we cannot pay our writers enough, but even with unlimited funds we could not pay our writers enough.
If you would like to learn more, contact us at email@example.com.