No More Hyperlocal Literature: The Civilian

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civilian (n.)  “relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous.”  -Online Etymological Dictionary

From the Editors:

Greetings! We are editors of the The Civilian, a forthcoming magazine for civics, art, and literature based in Kansas City, MO.

Launching this spring and summer, The Civilian follows model for publishing that coordinates art, literature, maps, community indexes, exhibitions, and books. The Civilian mediates and expands the audience for community based art, while also resisting hyperlocal tendencies of public discourse, provincialism, and atomization. Working closely with artists, writers, web-developers, designers, and community organizers, The Civilian unites socially engaged practices in the area.

If you are part of the registry of block clubs, homeowners association neighborhood associations, or Community Improvement Districts, then you may have received a letter from us by now. (If any community organizers have not heard from us and would like to, please contact us at

     FOCUS Plan 2004 (1)

Why The Civilian?

We chose the name because it is the interventions of people that define histories of places we live, which is actually many historically discordant places and municipalities layered on top of each other. We chose the Civilian because civilians fill in the gaps between the given political delineation of a place and what it’s like to actually be there.

Do we specifically mean non-military?

The answer is no, but then we think yes. The Civilian is unarmed and unparanoid. The Civilian moves through the city and its juridical shell—its real estate, its bureaucracy—without the fear of passing through unwelcoming boundaries. There is an art to this kind of bold engagement, and there are new kinds artists in civilians.

Kansas Cities

Above is a map; no matter what city it signifies. The unnatural edges are the boundaries of an seemingly arbitrary city. This city has no center, no shape, no name that can accurately represent its stratification of landscapes, cityscapes, vacant lots, houses, and people. We go from here to create new centers, shapes, and names. We start here because this municipal mass is concealing itself in the folds.

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