full name / name of organization:
Michael R. Griffiths (Columbia)
Theodor Adorno famously contended that “Even in a legendary better future, art could not disavow remembrance of accumulated horror, otherwise it’s form would be trivial.” How then, is one to think a better future in (post)colonial societies, while attending to the horrors of violent and unjust pasts? This collection seeks to address this question.
Comparative work in postcolonial studies often turns on the mode by which subaltern peoples were governed in the high colonial past. Framed in this way, ground for comparison has tended to concern the way the colonized suffered governmental classification, subjection, and regulation by the colonial state. David Scott’s seminal essay on this topic, grounded in colonial Ceylon, opened the way to much investigation. Similarly, Ann Laura Stoler’s work has incisively examined the relation between apparatuses of colonial governmentality in the former Dutch East Indies and French Indochina. There is much to be gained from this approach and, as the work of scholars like Patrick Wolfe have shown, analysis of colonial governmentality reveals how epistemologies of anthropology and colonial administration moved across colonial spaces. This collection aims to connect such analysis with the present, exploring the way revenants (in Derrida’s sense, particularly in Spectres of Marx) of such governmentality return and remain in apparently (post)colonial times.
How, for instance, do projects of national reconciliation account for, critique, and (at times) cover over the colonial traumas they seek to memorialize? How do postcolonies produce public spheres that challenge the memory of such colonial trauma? What are the lacunas and blindspots? How do postcolonial literatures challenge existing models of cultural memory? How are such challenges similarly refracted in festivals, public events, and other such performances? While the collection seeks to account for the historic legacy of colonial governmentality, it is the legacy that the collection most emphasizes---the mode of memorialization that persist at the end of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first; nonetheless, historical analyses of particular paradigms of colonial governmentality will be considered. Several publishers have expressed interest in the collection and, with your contribution, the project promises to be a strong contribution to the field.
Example topics that essays in the collection might explore include:
---postcolonial societies and cultural memory
---cultural memory within diasporic movements
---the governmentality of affect
---the relation between neoliberalism and postcoloniality
---the postcolony and necropolitics
---anticolonial and decolonizing movements and collective memory
---the mediation of cultural memory
---the politics of reconciliation
---indigenous responses to national projects of cultural memory
---literature and the public sphere in the postcolony
---film and the public sphere in the postcolony
The collection encourages comparative work, but could also include studies engaged in sustained analysis of single colonial and postcolonial texts, sites, and spaces. Similarly, literary, ethnographic, historical, and cultural analysis are all within the purview of the collection. Essays are to be between 6500 and 8500 words in length.
Please submit 500 word abstracts (including proposed essay title) and curriculum vitae to Michael R. Griffiths (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Octboer 15, 2012.
If full essays are completed and available, these may be sent along with the 500 word abstract.