Issue LXII of the journal Itinerari is dedicated to the theme “The Burrow. The exterior space of the intimate” and intends to collect contributions of an interdisciplinary nature that reflect on the theme of dwelling.
In Tommaseo’s vocabulary, the burrow is described as a ‘hollow deep in the earth or in the rocks where wild beasts shelter’, also indicating the lemma as a synonym for ‘pit, hole’. Only in a figurative sense can burrow refer to something human, conveying the meaning of ‘home, dwelling, room, shelter’. Instead, Kafka in his last story understands the burrow exclusively as Bau – construction – and not Höhle – natural cavity: the burrow is not something that is ready-made, like a ravine, to be casually used as a shelter and a refuge, because it is fortuitously suited to such functions. Bau always means a construction, an artifice, and therefore a technique, i.e. an art. The burrow is the result of inventiveness, and is always constructed with a view to a defined mode. It is undoubtedly an archetype of human habitation, the chosen and carefully constructed place to dwell. The meaning we can attribute to the burrow, in this sense, is twofold and takes up both the idea suggested by Tommaseo and that of Kafka. On the one hand, the burrow has the task of defending us from external dangers, as well as protecting us from natural bad weather; on the other, as a dwelling, it is not an object, and therefore should not be considered a mere ‘tool’ that can simply be used, but constitutes the point from which man is able to draw the lines of a meaningful cartography that can orientate his movement in the world.
The next step concerns the way in which an artifice such as the burrow ‘presents itself’. The burrow can indeed be constructed to conceal its presence, that is, to ensure that it is not noticed, thus ensuring greater security. But its presence can also be brazenly displayed, so as to challenge the aims of others with its impenetrability, and at the same time to discourage them. In any case, the burrow plays on the limitation of the seen – the unseen, the apparent – the in-apparent, relying on the element of visibility. On closer inspection, the essential and perhaps alienating element for reflection is to realise that the burrow represents the exteriority of one’s own inner self: it places the inner elements of one’s own existence, one’s own fears for example, outside the self, allowing these to have a liminal contact with the exterior and thus with what could present a threat. But according to this perspective, the house, the dwelling, the home, is not just a place that separates
the inside from the outside, rather they allow the passage, the exchange between the visible and the invisible.
Particularly welcome will be contributions reflecting, among others, around these axes
– human dwelling/animal dwelling;
– the relationship between intimacy/exteriority;
– dwelling and building;
– ethics of hospitality, ethics of hostility;
– politics of boundaries, walls, shelters;
Instructions for submitting proposals and contributions
Proposals must be emailed to the editors and curators (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org), by 30th November 2022 and must be in the form of a concise presentation (within 3000 characters in length, including spaces) of the investigation. Notification of accepted proposals will be made by 20th December 2022.
Contributions must have the following characteristics: be unpublished; be written in Italian, French, Spanish, German or English according to the journal’s standards; be between 25,000 and 40,000 characters long, notes and spaces included. Contributions must be emailed to the editors by 30th April 2023 and must be accompanied by an abstract (between 250 and 500 characters) in English and five key words. Contributions will be subject to anonymous evaluation. Publication will be free of charge for the authors.