||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (February 2008)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||Los Angeles|
Semiotext(e) is an American independent publisher. It is widely credited for having introduced so-called "French Theory" to North America through its magazine issues and Foreign Agents series. In 2000, the MIT Press began distributing Semiotext(e), taking it over from the anarchist publishing collective Autonomedia. The Semiotext(e) offices are located in Los Angeles.
Semiotext(e) began in 1974 as a journal started by French philosopher Sylvère Lotringer in an effort to bridge radical French theory and the intellectual and art worlds of New York City. The original editorial board included ten people, mostly graduate students at Columbia University where Lotringer teaches, who chipped in fifty dollars apiece to get the journal started. They held their first conference in 1975: the "Schizo-Culture" conference on prisons and madness. Speakers included Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Michel Foucault, and Jean-François Lyotard, now all staples of the Semiotext(e) backlist. Out of this conference came their second issue of the journal, which sold out in three weeks. Following issues included Italy: Autonomia; Post-Political Polics, and the infamous Polysexuality. In 1983, Lotringer began the Foreign Agents book series in their iconic 4.5" x 7" black-covered format.
In the late 1980s filmmaker and writer Chris Kraus came up with an idea to publish the American equivalent to the Foreign Agents series in writerly terms - non-mainstream American writers who exercise radical subjectivity. Semiotext(e)'s Native Agents series launched with Cookie Mueller's Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black. The Native Agents series went on to publish writers such as Kathy Acker, Eileen Myles, Michelle Tea, and Bob Flanagan. More recently, Abdellah Taïa, Penny Arcade, Gary Indiana, Masha Tupitsyn, and Grisèldis Rèal.
In 2003 Semiotext(e) inaugurated a more overtly political arm, the Active Agents series. These books, which include Amira Hass's Reporting From Ramallah and Alain Joxe's Empire of Disorder, are published in response to urgent issues.
- Morgan, Cheryl; Kraus, Chris (2005). "Interview: Chris Kraus of Semiotext(e)". Emerald City (121). Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- Interview with Sylvère Lotringer, published in ARTFORUM, issue April 2003 “My '80s: Better Than Life”