Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists
This special issue will examine the ways in which anticolonial thought and praxis have continued to inform aesthetics and creative processes. It seeks to think of decolonization as an ongoing collective project allowing us to challenge and critique more recent configurations of coloniality.
This special issue will ask how anticolonial aesthetics have been put to work and continue to be rethought and applied in ways that shape non-canonical forms of visual and literary creativity. Our objective is to examine how such forms of cultural productions have allowed for a redefinition of the role of the artist/writer in recent mo(ve)ments that draw from anticolonial aesthetics. The contemporary art vocabulary we commonly use to deal with issues of collective creativity, artistic labor, creativity’s social transformative role or art’s performative and activist potentiality owes much to the complex climate of uncertainty and possibility that permeated anticolonial experimentation (1940s-1960s) with alternative cultural forms. We are thinking here of how decolonization played a central role in leveraging mid-twentieth century cultural debates on cultural creativity, civic agency and collective participation.
How do contemporary creative practices and movements incorporate anticolonial aesthetics in order to think about alternative futures and progressive social transformation? How can we make sense of anticolonialism nowadays, when coloniality seems all the more present, not just as a legacy coming from a (not so) distant past, but also as a thriving threat? How can it contribute to the understanding of a current historical time of racial capitalism and selective state violence, massive marginalization, selective environmental degradation and hardening border policies? Do we need to continue posing the ‘anticolonial question’?
Without attempting to dematerialize anticolonialism, this special issue situates itself within recent (and not so recent) criticism that understands decolonization as an heterogeneous and untimely project (Wilder) still resonating in our present. The ‘anticolonial question’ has been haunting our present for a long while, as David Scott, among others, has examined. In this sense, we aim for a strategic repositioning of the aesthetics of anticolonialism, one that could bring its potential back to our present so as to envisage alternative futures. In a similar vein, we draw from the work of Cedric Robinson, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Rumina Sethi and Natalie Melas, in order to identify and understand the anticolonial process as an ongoing process that is both productive and realistic. A way of thinking of, and out of, our utopia-less present.
The Afterlives of Anticolonial Aesthetics will include a group of leading specialists in literature, art and cultural studies who have already committed to this special issue. We are now looking for a limited number of additional contributions related to some of the following topics:
- The “Anti” in the “Post.” Anticolonialism’s Postcolonial Afterlives
- The Logic of Practice. Learning from Anticolonial Experience and Praxis
- In Praise of the Small “a”. Creativity, Decolonization and Anarchism
- Decolonization and/in the Decolonial
- Gendering the Visual Register of Decolonization
Please send an abstract of 300 words to either Patrick Crowley and Carlos Garrido Castellano by 15 April 2020. First drafts of accepted articles to be submitted by the end of November 2020.