Theses Doctoral

The Bohemian Horizon: 21st-Century Little Magazines and the Limits of the Countercultural Artist-Activist

Mushett, Travis Michael

This dissertation examines the emergence of a cohort of independent literary, intellectual, and political publications—“little magazines”—in New York City over the past decade. Helmed by web-savvy young editors, these publications have cultivated formidable reputations by grasping and capitalizing on a constellation of economic, political, and technological developments. The little magazines understand themselves as a radical alternative both to a journalistic trend toward facile, easily digestible content and to the perceived insularity and exclusivity of academic discourse. However, the bohemian tradition in which they operate predisposes them toward an insularity of their own. Their particular web of allusions, codes, and prerequisite knowledge can render them esoteric beyond the borders of a specific subculture and, in so doing, curtail their political potency and reproduce systems of privilege. This dissertation explores the tensions and limitations of the bohemian artist-activist ideal, and locates instances in which little magazines were able to successfully transcend subcultural boundaries to productively engage in a broader politics.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Gitlin, Todd
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 6, 2016