Reenactments: German Colonialism in the Contemporary World
Call for Papers – Special Issue of Third Text (July 2016)
German colonialism has been until recently a marginalized subject in cultural studies, visual culture, and postcolonial studies in comparison to the analysis of the British and French colonial legacies. Seeking historical and cultural contributions (on case studies) as well as theoretical and philosophical interventions in the field of visual cultures and the arts, we start by asking two broad questions: How can we understand Germany’s complicated relation to its colonial past by turning to contemporary art, literature,and media. Secondly, how is contemporary German thought to be understood differently in relation to discourses of diaspora, displacement, migration, and dislocation vis-à-vis their mediation, given its delayed engagement with postcoloniality. Considering this broad framing, we aim to focus on forms of reenactment, aesthetic and political reconstructions of past events, to enquire into the intricate relation between art, visuality, time, space, and the production of knowledge to address, one way or another, the presence of colonialism—as historic, ahistoric, historicized, or post-historic—within and beyond the archives.
The term and concept of reenactment has been transformed in an art context lately by signifying performative practices in aesthetics, the entanglements of politics and art, documentary and fiction in film and media, the work of political and cultural activists to establish lieux de mémoire in public spaces through excavating the German politics of extermination in Africa. Such reenactments disclose the hidden forms and methods of the hegemony of knowledge in institutional politics.
Drawing our impetus from the museum, political activism, and institutions that have developed a post-ethnographic reflexive stance on their own collection of art, artefacts and history dating back to the 19th and the beginning of the 20th- century-German colonial politics and history in Southwest Africa and beyond, we ask: How are the archives of the past contrapuntally exposed in the living present? How are we to investigate the other beyond the expediency of postcolonial research and multicultural wishful thinking?
Through a collection of essays on art, space, literature, film and media as well as contributions by artists working in that discursive area, we seek to reanimate the discussion on the formation of new performative knowledge. We want to understand the distinctive German postcolonial epistemologies and simultaneously pry them open to offer new insights to counter various instances of epistemic violence and interrelate artistic knowledge and theoretical research in a new politics of aesthetics.
We invite authors to contribute to this special issue of Third Text by submitting proposals of 300-400 words as well as a biographical statement including institutional affiliation, contact information and publications.
The deadline for article proposals is October 31, 2015. Final articles of 5000 words will be peer-reviewed.
Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Karlsruhe University of Art and Design
Media Art Department
Lorenz str. 15, 76135
Assistant Professor of Global Communication
Simon Fraser University