CFP: [Cultural-Historical] Theorizing Cultural Activism: Practices, Dilemmas and Potentialities

full name / name of organization: 
B.O.FIRAT
contact email: 
bfirat@uva.nl

Thamyris/Intersecting: Place, Sex, Race invites articles for an upcoming volume in its series,
titled Theorizing Cultural Activism: Practices, Dilemmas and Potentialities, which will focus on
contemporary cultural activism that deals with issues of gender, race, queer, inter-cultural
dialogue, political agency and societal transformation within the broader framework of
contemporary anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist and alternative-globalization struggles with their
particular forms, existing practices, and their further implications and potentialities.
The Yes Men, the Guerilla Girls, Adbusters, Reclaim the Streets, Critical Art Ensemble,
Genderpranks, the Rebel Clown Army, Reverend Billy, Bansky, the Space Hijackers, Yomango,
®TMark, Biotic Baking Brigade and Billboard Liberation Front are now as famous and inspiring as
T. W. Adorno, Guy Debord, or Jean Baudrillard. The actions and campaigns of such groups have
brought about alternative modes in which political activism can be innovative and destructive.
Simultaneously they proved to be inspiring forms of political art that moves beyond its
institutional boundaries as well as beyond the dichotomy between autonomous and committed
art. These contemporary practices, all of which are directed towards disturbing and reorienting
the cultural and political sphere by attacking the narratives of truth in the society in one way or
another can be summed up under the notion of a cultural activism that involves different tactics,
such as culture jamming, sousveillance, media hoaxing, adbusting, subvertising, flash mobs,
street art, hacktivism, billboard liberation, and urban guerilla, to name but a few. While
theoretical and historical roots of these cultural practices can be found in the avant-garde art
movements of the past —from Dada and Surrealism to Situationist International— the socio-
cultural contexts in which these actions take place differ greatly from that of the historical avant-
guards and hence deserve to be theorized in their contemporary specificity.
        Therefore, we invite scholars and activists to think together to provide various responses
and establish a productive dialogue between the theorizations of the intricacies of our times and
activist/subversive practices that deal with them. The encounter between the insights of political,
social and critical theory and activist visions, suggestions and actions is both urgent and
appealing. We aim to explore this confrontational collaboration, its limits and productiveness,
both in theory and in practice.
        An important concern is to contextualize practices both in their specificity and in a broader
framework, by considering their predecessors, their temporal and theoretical neighbors, and
allied or hostile relatives. By doing so, the various manifestations of activist practices in different
localities and their transnational qualities can be elucidated.
        Activist practices are situated at the juncture of power, desire, identity, political practice,
political agency and the dialectic of subversion and recuperation. Contributions should try to
engage with these coordinates so as to generate various suggestions about the present and
future, subjects and politics, as well as the formation and reformation of images, spaces,
meanings and everyday life. Contributions are expected to be concerned with rethinking and
exploring theoretical concepts and tools through practice, and comprehend and develop political
practice by the help of theories, both for a better understanding of theory and practice, and more
importantly, for new practical transformatory critical suggestions for our times.
Please send an abstract of your contribution (300 words maximum) and a short biographical note
by October 15, 2007 to Aylin Kuryel - aylinkuryel_at_gmail.com and Begum Ozden Fırat -
B.O.Firat_at_uva.nl. The deadline for the final articles is February 1, 2008.

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Received on Tue Sep 04 2007 - 16:42:09 EDT

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches