Critical studies of African literature and arts

The deadline for the African Literature Association paper proposals has been extended to January 4. The theme is “African Literature, Visual Arts, and Film in Local and Transnational Spaces” to be held at Ohio University April 13-17, 2011. Details can be found here.

Keynote Speakers are:
Haile Gerima
Laila Lalami
Sefi Atta
J. Michael Dash
Alamin Mazrui

A Visual Arts Roundtable will be held Thursday evening April 14 with:
Cynthia Becker
Joanna Grabski
Dawit L. Petros
Monica Visona

Andrea Frohne
ALA co-convener

Critical studies of African literature and arts in the past few decades have primarily focused on the categories of ‘post-coloniality’, ‘hybridization’, and ‘syncretization’ in their methodology and theorization of the fields. While these notions have been salient and useful, there is a wide recognition that they may not be adequate to map the contemporary concerns and forms of African literature and arts in a time chiefly defined by proliferating dynamics of trans-boundary cultural and material formations. According to contemporary critical thought, it is no longer possible to think of the “local” simply as a fixed entity within a nested global hierarchy or as an enclosed space, event, or cultural expression, just as it is impossible to imagine the “global” without recognizing (at least) its “partial embeddedness” (Saskia Sassen, 2003: 4) in the “local,” which itself is complex, specific, and “thick” with its own particular conditions and histories of “struggles” (Samir Amin, 2002). The success or failure of impacting transnational forces, images, ideas, artistic genres, cultural products, and globalizing technologies, etc., generally depend on the structure and scale of the linking fostered and/or forced upon “those more local communities, tactics, and symbolic strategies of cultural location that confront and challenge them in the production of locality, local subjects, national situations, and the making of everyday space and public spheres of existence.” (Rob Wilson and Wimal Dissanayake, 1996: 1)

The conference aims to initiate important academic and intellectual conversations about the complex interconnections of local and transnational practices and articulations, as inscribed in African literary, visual arts, and filmic representations. It particularly invites scholars and practitioners to identify and address the varied strategies of how local variants, contingent contexts, influences, agencies, or even trans-local and neo-global power circuits, reconfigure themselves to recast, facilitate and, sometimes, contest the effects, limitations, and excesses of the economy of material, social, and cultural production. At the same time, presuming that the “local” is more than an ossified or silent victim of the “global” but instead a space in motion, the conference encourages nuanced and engaging/provocative contributions on the historical and continued structural (material, cultural, and political) hegemony of the global on the local, and the consequences thereof for the future material and cultural well-being of the African continent as we, hopefully, move from a monocentric world-system to a polycentric world-space.

Sub-Themes: The sub-themes of the conference include, but are not limited to:

•Globalization and effects of denationalization of the African
•African memoirs and autobiographies (including narratives of conflict and reconciliation, writings by and on child soldiers, war children, orphans, street children, and by children parenting children, etc.)
•African film and images of global incorporation/disputation/local contestation
•Border-crossing of bodies, borderzone identities
•Politics and aesthetics of writing in local/transnational languages
•Translation as transnationalization
•Gender in the local/transnational
•Class, culture, and specific environments as elements of localization and/or transnationalization
•Ecological degradation/disasters
•Urban and rural space subjectivities
•African literature and arts in cyberspace
•Cultural practices of mobility and new African identities in world cities
•Translocal agents and spaces (NGOs, tourism, religious movements, solidarity groups, refugees, migrant hostels, diasporic neighborhoods, etc.)
•Aesthetics of local violence, memory and forgiveness
•Diasporic incarnations/interventions as sites of alternative normative visions
•Production, reception, and teaching of African texts, and images in local and transnational contexts
•Local and transnational flows of texts, arts, narratives, ideas, memories, cultures, symbols

Following the ALA tradition, papers and panels on all other aspects of African literature, arts, and film are also welcome.

Please send panel proposals or individual paper abstracts as a Word Document or PDF attachment by the deadline (January 4, 2011) to the convener, Ghirmai Negash,

The email must include:
•Complete Mailing Address

If proposing a panel, please also include:
•Panel Chair
•Panel Title
•Panel Members, Affiliations, and Paper Titles

Andrea E. Frohne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, African Art History
School of Interdisciplinary Arts
Lindley Hall 132
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701-2979
tel: 740.593.1319
fax: 740.593.0578

29.12.2010 | by martalanca | Critical studies of African literature and arts