Call for Submissions: Clubs

Please note: Submissions are now closed

A club is an organization that exists somewhere between unbridled enthusiasm and institutional authority. A club is a convivial wonderhouse–not quite a group of strangers, not yet a hallowed hall; it provides solidarity without bureaucracy, learning without academia, association without loyalty oaths. There are all kinds of clubs: book, gardening, debate, neighborhood, political, professional, sporting, scientific, artistic. Dilettante Army, for example, is named after the Society of Dilettanti, a club founded in 1732 by rich white men to discuss art history; we like to think we’ve updated their concept.

While clubs build social ties, they can also function as informal networks of exclusion–gentlemen’s clubs, “old boys clubs,” and country clubs have often served as havens for the powerful and created insular peer networks between generations of the wealthy. Given previous models of clubs gone bad, how does one structure a club that builds networks while maintaining openness? Is such a model possible?

Clubs can spring up anywhere, but they flourish (statistically speaking) in places with a few key conditions: urbanization, affluence, cosmopolitan pluralism, and robust social infrastructure. Public structures like libraries and community centers provide meeting spaces, but as government investment in such places wanes, what can we do to ensure their survival? Where do clubs thrive?

For our Summer 2019 issue, Dilettante Army welcomes essay submissions on clubs and the places they live. Possible topics include: alumni groups, Masonic lodges, coffeehouses (from Early Modern Europe to the present), Boy and Girl Scouts, secret societies, book clubs, country clubs, nightclubs, gay bars, literary and academic societies, community gardens, alternative schools, cults, and The Baby-Sitters Club.

Submission proposals should be emailed to editor Sara Clugage ( by Monday, June 10

Image: Sir Joshua Reynolds, The Dilettanti Society, No. 2 Portrait (1777-79), via Wikimedia Commons.




We publish pieces that involve visual analysis, critical theory, and close text reading. Our preferred topics center around issues of social justice, politics, the art world, and quirky historical stuff. While we do publish pieces that are situated in lived experience, we do not publish personal essays. We much prefer pitches to completed pieces, although if you do have a completed piece, please thoroughly summarize it in your email. Dilettante Army also promotes imaginative pieces, poetry, and visual essays. If you have a creative idea, please hit us up!


Editor-in-Chief Sara Clugage:

Please include in your email your name and the title of your piece. If you are pitching any kind of expository writing, please give us a full paragraph explaining your idea and the key points you will use to support it. We look for original, well-considered arguments that are backed up by theory of some kind (i.e. critical, feminist, literary, aesthetic), reliable data, and close observation or reading. We want to see that you’ve got weird, creative ideas, and that you also have a firm grounding in your subject and a reliable research methodology.


In general, DA publishes medium-format written pieces of 3000-4000 words. Visual essays and poetry are considered separately.


We strongly believe that creative labor should be paid. We offer an honorarium for our illustrious authors, on average $200-400. Contributors retain all rights to their work.