[artinfo] CfP: Theorizing Cultural Activism: Practices, Dilemmas and Potentialities

Firat, B.O. B.O.Firat at uva.nl
Thu Aug 30 22:07:56 CEST 2007

Call for Contributions: Theorizing Cultural 
Activism: Practices, Dilemmas and Potentialities

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, 
šTMark, 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 
<<mailto:aylinkuryel at gmail.com>mailto:aylinkuryel at gmail.com> 
and Begum Ozden Firat - B.O.Firat at uva.nl 
<<mailto:B.O.Firat at uva.nl>mailto:B.O.Firat at uva.nl>. 
The deadline for the final articles is February 
1, 2008.

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