CFP for Postcolonial Interventions, Vol. III, Issue 2, June 2018

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Postcolonial Interventions: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Postcolonial Studies


'This world was unified, first of all, by a common purpose: to provide the corrective of laughter and criticism to all existing straightforward genres, languages, styles, voices, to force men to experience beneath these categories a different and contradictory reality that is otherwise not captured in them.'

                                                                                                                                                                            "From the prehistory of novelistic discourse", Bakhtin

Humour has been one of the most important ways in which a traditionally repressed population has dealt with their marginalisation. Broadly speaking, in the postcolonial arena, humour is a critical practice concerned with contesting colonialism and its legacies. From the farces and lampoons which marked the initial years of Bengali proscenium theatre in the second half of 19th century to Satyajit Roy’s Heerok Rajar Deshe (In the Land of the Diamond-King) to Saleem Sinai’s magic-realist dissection of post-independence Indian history – humour has been a significant force in the development of postcolonial cultures, not just in India but across the world. As Susan Reichl and Mark Stein explain:

“From V.S. Naipaul to Meera Syal, from Mordecai Richler to Zakes Mda: laughter is a key element, humour a key feature, disrespect a vital textual strategy of postcolonial cultural practice. Samuel Selvon’s subtle comedy, Salman Rushdie’s hilarious verbal exploits, Zadie Smith’s multicultural ‘lip’; by different means and to various ends, they all provoke laughter.” (Cheeky Fictions 1)

Such laughter, although capable at time of reinforcing stereotypes and prejudices disseminated by dominant discourses, also subvert, interrogate and challenge different practices of discrimination, subjugation and deprivation which marked the colonial world and continue to fissure postcolonial societies. Naturally therefore, such laughter proliferates across genres and creates various forms of literary and cultural practices, endowed with different degrees of satire and humour which target everything from everyday foibles to systemic maladies in differing tones. Particularly significant, in this context, are the comic performances of South African artist Trevor Noah, a postcolonial subject of mixed-race parentage, or Russell Peters, a Canadian comic of Indian origins or performers like Vishwa Kalyan Rath and Kunal Kamra in India. In their own ways they keep exploring issues of cultural snobbery, regional prejudices, racism, issues of identity and belonging, class differences and many other issues which are pivotal to postcolonial existence in general. At a time when dissent and critique are being regularly asphyxiated by intolerant regimes of one kind or another, the proliferation of laughter as an antidote to fear is of utmost critical relevance.

The next issue of Postcolonial Interventions wishes to focus on these manifestations of humour in different genres, forms and media and the ways in which they explore various facets of postcolonial existence.


  • A theorisation of performative humour in the Postcolonial state
  • Postcolonial humour and identity politics
  • Ideas of permissibility in humour, the right to offend
  • Right-Wing Nationalism vis-à-vis Postcolonial humour
  • Oppressive state machinations and the negotiations for freedom of speech
  • The importance of language in segregating audiences in a multilingual population
  • Humour in the oeuvre of different authors/performers
  • Folklore and humour and contestation of hegemonic structures
  • Humour in cyberspace and other digital networks
  • Humour and political rhetoric.

Please send your submissions to within 31 March 2018 in accordance with the following guidelines:

  1. Articles must be original and unpublished. Submission will imply that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere.
  2. Written in Times New Roman 12, double spaced with 1″ margin on all sides, in doc/docx format
  3. Between 4000-7000 words, inclusive of all citations.
  4. With in-text citations and a Works Cited list complying with latest Chicago Manual of Style specifications.
  5. A separate cover page should include the author’s name, designation, an abstract of 250 words with a maximum of 5 keywords and a short bio-note of 50 words.
  6. The main article should not in any way contain the author’s name. Otherwise the article will not be considered.
  7. The contributors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce any material, including photographs and illustrations for which they do not hold copyright.


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