Critical Negotiations in Black Literature and the Arts

Call for papers

We invite papers across a broad spectrum of interests: drama, poetry, prose, performance, film, visual arts, curating, arts management and history. Areas of discussion might connect with the following ideas:

  • At home and abroad — sights and sites of reception. Critical engagements with Black British literature and the arts differ according to political and geographical contexts. Many artists and writers themselves embrace diasporic and transnational identities and aesthetics. What are the consequences of this multiple reception and affiliation? How is an indigenous notion of Black British culture affected? Which critical vocabularies are employed, which critical agendas enacted when discussing Black British cultural production? On whose terms is Black British cultural production created, distributed and evaluated?
  • Securing credentials. Chris Ofili has been accused of “playing to the audience” (and to the judges) thereby securing his credentials as a “black artist”. In contrast, some writers and practitioners steer clear of the term and face the charge of effacing their black heritage as they encounter mainstream and commercial success. What is the relationship between mainstream acceptance and opportunities for producing radical black-centred work?
  • Historicising the field. Black writers have been published in Britain over the past three centuries – although there is no extant evidence of this in drama before the twentieth century. What are the lines of descent and tradition that connect writers and performers across time and place? What were the formative conditions of production and reception for early black writers and artists in Britain? What part do contemporary historical novels, poetry, visual arts, or drama play in retrieving and reviving past times, to recirculate and celebrate marginalised voices?
    How is sustainability a factor today and what interventions are being made in the light of Danuta Keane’s Arts Council-funded reports into publishing In Full Colour and Free Verse?
  • Arts bodies, cultural policy and education. Challenges to publicly-funded educational and arts bodies raise questions about the criteria for and beneficiaries of subsidy. Can policy initiatives and educational programmes reshape the cultural industries? What kinds of pedagogical approaches have been developed in disseminating and teaching Black British literature and the arts both inside and beyond the U.K.? How do they impact upon experiences of multiculturalism and Black artistic production, here and elsewhere, and how do they shape understandings of Black British culture?
  • Sexual/textual practices. Articulations of gay, lesbian and trans-gender experiences have regularly side- lined the perspectives of black people. Black sexual-gender politics have also contended with feminism’s inadequacies. How are socio-sexual categories negotiated and represented across forms, disciplines and sites of writing and performance? Who are the boundary breakers? Which aesthetic principles are at work?
  • Carnival and Spectacle. The Notting Hill Carnival has developed from a small, community-based event, (celebrating still-retained links to Caribbean culture), into a key feature on the London calendar, showcasing the presence of the Caribbean diaspora. Over recent decades, establishment anxieties regarding public control, media representations and political agendas of inclusion and multiculturalism have exacted an increasingly distorting process upon the Carnival’s future and integrity. Where is Carnival placed within contemporary British culture? Papers and visual materials are welcomed which cover any aspect of Carnival anywhere in the U.K. and its history up to now.

First Call for Papers:

Please send your abstract (250 words) and a short bio to:

Deadline: September 15, 2007.

Source of Message: OnWhose Terms via EMIT Writers News (August).


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