de:do – Concept

denkste: puppe. multidisziplinäre online-zeitschrift für mensch-puppen diskurse
just a bit of: doll. multidisciplinary online-journal for human-doll/puppet discourses

de:do is a multidisciplinary journal that is designed as an open platform for scientific and experientially based texts and works as well as for works of art, images, essays and scenic performances about dolls, puppets, and human-like figures. The phenomenon ‘doll/puppet’ in its ambiguous usability (Philippe Ariès 2003, 135) – be it a material, anthropomorphic artefact, a literary narrative, a figure of thought, a medium or a medial form of expression – serves here as a referential meta-frame for various fields of science, research and application. It addresses disciplines such as literary studies, art and art history, cultural studies, theatre, film, media and social sciences, psychology, pedagogy, ethnology, anthropology, design, material science, robotics, including their various genres and fields of practice.

Are human-doll discourses a viable science-based topic? Dolls/puppets in all their manifestations and kinds of materiality, as literary and medial products, as anthropomorphic figures with human features, as toys, hand puppets, marionettes, art figures, robots etc., made of wood, plush, plastic, metal, paper and above all: created from imagination and fantasy, dolls/puppets represent a “void in academic discourse” (Yoko Tawada, 2000, 5). Although existing as long as can be remembered and being “closely integrated into the fabric of human life” (Gundel Mattenklott 2014, 29), dolls/puppets, these ancient and ubiquitous “pilgrims” from the world of things and artefacts (Kenneth Gross 2009, 187), are in a peculiar way pejoratively connotated with an aura of childishness and triviality. The fact that human-doll relationships represent a multi-layered and discursive subject in the academic environment was well documented at an interdisciplinary and international doll conference entitled Dolls/Puppets – Human Companions in Children’s Worlds and Imaginary Spaces (Insa Fooken and Jana Mikota 2014). The fascinating ambiguity of the doll/puppet as an object of knowledge, its existence between dead matter and animated liveliness, its oscillation between seemingly inferior toys and archaic symbolic meaning showed that dolls/puppets are more than ‘just dolls/puppets’ – they are mirrors and projection surfaces of human life contexts (Jürgen Fritz 1992).

de:do is located at the “Forschungsstelle Schrift-Kultur” (Research Centre Writing Culture at the University of Siegen). It is an online journal with peer review in which German and English contributions are welcome. In addition to a thematic focus, free articles as well as other categories (miscellaneous, interviews, discussion forums, essays, artistic works, reviews, announcements etc.) with doll/puppet-related topics are also included. The first issue was published in May 2018 with a thematic focus on Dolls/puppets in threat scenarios. The second issue on dolls as miniatures – more than small was published in May 2019. The third issue on the topic puppen/dolls like mensch – dolls as artificial people will probably appear as a double issue in May/June 2020 due to the great response.

Ariès, Philippe. (2003, 15th edition). Geschichte der Kindheit: München: dtv.
Fooken, Insa, Mikota, Jana (Hg.) (2014). Puppen – Menschenbegleiter in Kinderwelten und imaginären Räumen. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Fritz, Jürgen (1992). Spiele als Spiegel ihrer Zeit: Glücksspiele, Tarot, Puppen, Videospiele. Mainz: Matthias-Grünewald.
Gross, Kenneth (2009). The Madness of Puppets. The Hopkins Review, 2 (2), 182-205.
Mattenklott, Gundel (2014). Heimlich-unheimliche Puppe: Ein Kapitel zur Beseelung der Dinge. In Insa Fooken, Jana Mikota (Hg.), Puppen – Menschenbegleiter in Kinderwelten und imaginären Räumen (S. 29-42). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Tawada, Yoko (2000). Spielzeug und Sprachmagie in der europäischen Literatur. Eine ethnologische Poetologie. Tübingen: Konkursbuch Verlag.