full name / name of organization:
Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Nelson Mandela is not only a real historical person, revolutionary, anti-apartheid leader
and first democratic president of South Africa, but one of the most extraordinary
symbols of our times. His story, his struggle, his image have travelled globally and, as
symbols, they have come to signify different things to different people around the
As Madiba’s stately figure slowly disappears from our TV screens and his face
increasingly shows up as a logo in numberless tourist gadgets and websites, we want
to ask in what ways his myth has been welcomed and appropriated across the globe.
While family feuds compound with South Africa’s increasingly conflictual present to
blur the awe-inspiring achievements of the charismatic leader, we would like to
investigate the reasons why the Mandela narrative endures and maintains his utopian
and political dimensions.
Since talking about Mandela has become increasingly difficult because so
many things have already been said about him, we encourage a series of interventions
on his figure, his work, his contribution to history and the fight for freedom from a
distinctive angle. We are not planning a late tribute, a kind of hagiography, or (not yet)
an in memoriam for 2014, when South Africa celebrates its twenty years of democracy:
we rather suggest a rainbow-like collection of contributions from various cultural
backgrounds and national traditions that look at Mandela through the lenses of
literature (which he loved and cared for and looms large in his writings), of theatre,
cinema, music, the visual and the performative arts.
The aim is to explore what meanings this powerful figure has produced and how –
how art has concurred to represent Mandela and how he has in his turn fertilized the
arts – not only in South Africa but anywhere else, in other African countries, in Italy, in
Europe, the Americas, the Indian subcontinent, Asia ...
We welcome proposals (in English, Italian, French or Spanish) that engage with
questions of representation and discuss the generative power of the global icon, but
also contributions that look at Mandela the man, that critique his mythic status and
problematize his meanings in/from a variety of socio-cultural and artistic contexts,
theoretical viewpoints and methodologies.
Abstracts (300-500 words), alongside a short list of bibliographical references
(between 10 and 20 titles) and a short CV, should be submitted to the email address
no later than 15th February 2014.
Acceptance of contributions will be notified by 27th February 2014.
The deadline for submission of papers is 15th June 2014.
The issue will be published by late November 2014.
We also welcome book reviews and interviews to authors and scholars
investigating the aforementioned topics.
Contributors are free to contact the editors to discuss and clarify the objectives
of their proposals. The editors can be contacted via the Editorial Secretary