What is Tiresias?
Tiresias is an online publication, run by graduate students of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) at the University of Michigan. Tiresias is published twice a year (April and December) on RLL's website and is open to anyone (graduate students, professors, independent scholars, activists, etc.) interested in participating in the ongoing discussion of culture, politics, and critical theory. We accept academic contributions as well as creative works (short stories, poetry, photography, journalistic accounts, etc.) in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, and Galician that deal with, or are related to, the central topic chosen for each issue. Contributions will be published in the original language.
Tiresias builds upon the necessity of creating spaces of intellectual exchange for graduate students in general as well as increasing discussion and dialogue among students in our Department. As such, Tiresias facilitates the exchange of ideas and critical thinking through an interdisciplinary discussion of culture, politics and critical theory via considerations of history, literature, art, cinema, psychoanalysis, anthropology, philosophy, and the like. We proceed from the intellectual need to negotiate and forge our thought in close contact with our colleagues, whom we recognize as a necessary source of criticism and support. We embrace the challenge of thinking, analyzing and arguing beyond established tendencies of contemporary thought within our field.
Each issue of Tiresias has two main sections, each organized around the issue’s central topic. The first section will include academic contributions and the second one “creative” or non-academic ones. Each submission published in these sections will include an open forum for posting comments in order to foster discussion.
Why the Name Tiresias?
In Greek Mythology, Tiresias, the Thebe, having interrupted the natural copulation of a pair of snakes, and being unaware of the sacrilegious aspect of his interference was turned into a woman. After having spent the next seven years of his life as such, Tiresias experienced another transition, this time back to the masculine after coming upon the lustful snakes again. His knowledge about both genders of humanity and his experience of having sex with both sexual bodies led him to disclose the secret of pleasure. As Hera and Zeuz were arguing over whether man or woman is the most gifted for enjoying sex, they turned to Tiresias for his opinion. Tiresias’ revelation —that the female orgasm is by far the strongest— outraged Hera who punished him with blindness, whereas Zeus, out of sympathy, provided him with the gift of prophecy. The first mythic transsexual in Western civilization who dared to confront the gods with his own version of truth, Tiresias was to remain famous as the blind seer of the city of Thebes and play a crucial role in Oedipus’ odyssey.
Throughout his life, Tiresias had to deal with transgression, sexuality, knowledge, power and transcendence. Because of this, we have taken his name to celebrate the birth of an on-line journal devoted to the original mapping of contemporary intellectual life by crossing various fields and academic disciplines. Having been both a man and a woman, Tiresias embodies the questioning of identity by unveiling the veiled, and undermining thereby established thought and institutionalized concepts. We have no doubt that, under the auspices of a blind, visionary, gender-confused being, we can accept the worthwhile, stimulating challenge to be able to look for the signs and the marks of our own times.
The editorial team is composed of graduate students at the University of Michigan. It also includes two faculty members, chosen by the students, who serve as advisors.
Pedro Aguilera Mellado
Mariano Olmedo Gómez
Professor Gustavo Verdesio
Professor Javier Sanjinés
Address: 4108 Modern Languages Building
812 East Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1275