Call for Submissions: A Spectre Is Haunting…

“A spectre is haunting Europe: the spectre of Communism.” This line opened the gate to another world and ghosts rushed through, filling the crevices we thought were empty. The Communist Manifesto gave us language to describe how things that seemed clear and permanent realities–ideological assumptions, aesthetic commitments, material conditions, institutions, social and political forms, economic structures–could be revealed as spectral: “all that is solid melts into air.” The past persists. It accumulates under our feet and in the corners of our server farms—present in the materials but not fully material, the movements that collapsed and the futures that never became the present.  As Mark Fisher says, “[t]he future is always experienced as a haunting.” Hauntology: the failure of the future. 

What endures after the future has vanished? In (the long crisis of) the present, who is haunting whom? Dilettante Army’s Spring 2022 issue, A Spectre Is Haunting…, invites contributors to play Mad Libs with Marx and Engels’s famous phrase and fill in the blanks of this popular and flexible metaphor. “A spectre is haunting ______; the spectre of ______.” 

Topics might include: the logic of late capitalism, haunted houses, mourning, the long crisis of the present, pastiche, palimpsest, institutional memory, sampling, pop music, failed movements, outdated genres, things that go bump in the night, Goosebumps, echoes, literal or figurative waking nightmares, literal or emotional blackmail, guilt, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the intimacy of algorithms, and the ghost in the machine. 

Submission pitches should be emailed to editor Sara Clugage ( by Tuesday, December 7, 2021. Before submitting, please read our submission guidelines for more information on what we publish.

Image: Pepper’s Ghost stage diagram from Le Monde Illustré, 1862, via Wikimedia Commons