Meraki is produced and distributed primarily on Wurundjeri country of the Kulin Nation. As a community, we pay our respects to the Elders of this land, past and present, and stand in solidarity with their continued fight for sovereignty and self-determination. We also acknowledge that many of us are descendants of settlers, who have and continue to benefit from the theft of First Nation land and culture, and that treaty talks have not yet begun.
Our chosen name, Meraki, is a testament to the intense passion, skill, and commitment of everyone involved in its production. We would like to thank each and every one of you for your valuable contributions. While the focus of this project is our authors and their creative commitments, we also hope to stake a larger claim in a conversation which is so often swept away from the public eye. That is, the importance of philosophy for the future of our society, and more critically, the apparent inability of the western, colonial academy to diversify its curriculum.
Meraki’s core mission is rooted in our founders’ experiences during their tertiary studies, where only a fraction of the material we studied was written by women, LGBTQI+, or by Black, Indigenous, or other POC philosophers (BIPOC). Further, the current trend within academic philosophy is narrowing into a purely analytic criterion. This excludes, not only philosophies that lie outside of the western canon, but also philosophical methodologies that do not conform to the dominant analytic tradition. This exclusionary structure is consolidated again and again by the institutional mechanisms that decide who teaches what, and thus, who studies what. For example, university staff select postgraduate students on the basis of their philosophical interests, which results in the transitive reproduction of the dominant norms of the academy, through postgraduate and undergraduate study.
The long-term effects of these structures can be seen clearly in the lack of women, LGBTQI+, and BIPOC within philosophy departments around the country. Essentially, cohorts are dominated by white men, teaching other white men about the work of white men. Racism and sexism within the academy are constituted by the erasure, exclusion, and marginalisation of specific types of knowledge that replicates, on a micro level, methods of colonisation that are used to rob communities of their languages, practices, values, and culture. And as Badiou’s piquant pen, translated by Valentin Cartillier in our feature article, writes – like Joan – we will “not be reduced to the predicates of submission that [our] time impose[s].” We would like to see the academy engage with philosophical traditions that are not part of the western cannon and lie outside of their narrow analytic criterion; to truly engage with the term post-colonial. In the meantime, our answer is to provide a space for the types of knowledge that are excluded by the western academy, hopefully giving rise to their incorporation into western curriculums and, in turn, diversifying academic content, staff, and student bodies.
Meraki’s inaugural issue is vastly metaphilosophical, asking questions of global epistemological significance while demanding purely subjective answers, bringing philosophy back into its natural habitat in our day-to-day lives. Our authors consider how we participate in certain types of knowledge, meaning, and value, and how we engage with everyday life. To do philosophy is to rigorously examine knowledge itself, the changing effects of a concept’s core structure, and how it sways in the wake of its toughest opponents. Philosophers, theorists, and creators sit for months pondering every angle, crevice, and curve of their chosen slice of knowledge. It is when they are in the depths of its most intimate contours, that they – almost knowingly – forget that this slice has no curves. Its edges never existed, except as a trick of the mind, of language, of concept. And here, our philosophers ground themselves once more in everyday life, considering the real lives that are impacted.
Diverse philosophical practice has the power to motivate an eventual reordering of how we embed socio-cultural value within certain types of knowledge, and in this way, is the first step to real change. This magazine is a turning point for myself and my peers’ incessant trek into the frontier of conceptual development. Not because it offers a unique perspective into the minds of our emerging philosophers and creators, but because it symbolically dislocates what we value, and contributes to the fluctuating waves of ideology, trend, and social agitation that we conventionally call ‘culture’. In this space, we – the reader, the author, the editor – are the ones who decide what is important. This is your space, made to measure, for what you think deserves your passion, soul, and meraki.