Tag Archives: Postcolonialism

Call for Papers – New Voices: Art and Decolonisation

We are happy to share this call for papers for New Voices annual one-day conference, organized by the AAH Student Members Committee, whose theme this year is: Art and Decolonisation.

Voldemārs Matvejs (Vladimir Markov) Bamana culture group, Mali, photographed in Musée du quai Branly, 1913. Courtesy Information Center, Art Academy of Latvia

Voldemārs Matvejs (Vladimir Markov) Bamana culture group, Mali, photographed in Musée du quai Branly, 1913. Courtesy Information Center, Art Academy of Latvia

Date of event: 16 November 2013

Location: Henry Moore Institute, Leeds

Deadline for abstracts: 1 October 2013

Art and its histories have ‘complex entanglements’ with empire and imperialism, to borrow a phrase from theorist Nikos Papastergiadis. In collaboration with the Henry Moore Institute, New Voices investigates the intersections of art and decolonisation to ask what the specific implications of decolonisation are for art and art history. This symposium turns attention to the geo-political struggles, revolutions and cultural recalibrations that artists and art historians have championed, challenged and negotiated as imperialism and colonialism weakened their grip and took on new forms.

We invite proposals that explore themes including:

  • Art, national independence and self-determination
  • Cultural affirmation and hybridity
  • International Indigenous collectives and networks
  • Global exhibitions and the complexities of national representation
  • Contemporary approaches to ethnographic collections
  • Historiography, methodologies and their relationships to decolonisation
  • Case studies of how curators, artists and collectors have engaged with postcolonial art historiography to produce new narratives while learning from the past

Submit abstracts of 350 words, with a 150-word biography, to the organisers, Charlotte Stokes, Imogen Wiltshire, Sibyl Fisher and Anna Beketov, by 1 October 2013 via email: artanddecolonisation@gmail.com 

To read the call for papers in full click here

To find out more information about this one-day conference of the AAH website click here


Book Review: Human Zoos

A new review by postgraduate research student Emily Trafford of the University of Liverpool’s School of Histories, Languages and Cultures has been added to the research section of the Black Atlantic Resource, which looks at the 2008 publication Human Zoos.

P. Blanchard, N. Bancel, G. Boёtsch, É. Deroo, S. Lemaire, C. Forsdick (eds), Human Zoos: Science and Spectacle in the Age of Colonial Empires, 2008 (Liverpool University Press: Liverpool)

This recent collection of essays on the display of human otherness moves beyond the wave of freak show literature of the 1980s and ‘90s, and seeks to provide a more comprehensive overview of this peculiar exhibitionary practice. The display of the exotic Other for entertainment, education, and supposedly the advancement of scientific knowledge, occurred in numerous guises throughout imperial nations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The strength of the volume lies in its scope – in terms of time and place, the historical characters and stories that emerge, and the disciplinary approaches that its contributors utilise – all of which make Human Zoos a valuable resource …read more

If you are interested in contributing a book review to the Black Atlantic Resource please contact us.

Upcoming Symposium: Representations of Slavery in Neoliberal Times


Selected images from: Positive Negative Guardian Paperworks by Lubaina Himid via: http://www.lubainahimid.info/

We are happy to announce a one-day symposium to  be held at the University of Newcastle on Friday 25th May.

This symposium brings together speakers who address neoliberalism, contemporary slavery and modern slavery through the concept of representation (visual, affective, cultural and media).  It is hosted by Media and Cultural Studies, the Postcolonial Research Group and the Gender Research Group at Newcastle University.

Location: Research Beehive, Room 2.20, Old Library Building, Newcastle University

Time/Date: Friday 25th May 2012, 13:00 – 18:00, followed by a wine reception at Northern Stage.


Professor Marcus Wood, School of English, University of Sussex

Film Performance and the Memory of Slavery in Very Liberal Times

Professor Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire

Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Professor Julia O’Connell Davidson, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham

Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Roundtable participants:

Dr. Kate Manzo (Politics, Newcastle), Dr. Diana Paton (History, Newcastle), Dr. Rachel Wells (Fine Art, Newcastle)

This is a free event, but places are limited. To book a place, please contact: Carolyn Pedwell: carolyn.pedwell@ncl.ac.uk



Film Performance and the Memory of Slavery in Very Liberal Times

Professor Marcus Wood, School of English, University of Sussex

Marcus Wood will introduce and screen three short performance films that explore how the traumatic memory of slavery and colonization has been encoded in art and literature. High Tar Babies questions assumptions surrounding the concept of blackness and is intimately related to Wood’s recent tar paintings about race, hatred, slavery, and love. Kiss the Bat plays with the symbolism of the baseball bat. It highlights its significance as a symbol of at once American achievement – in that the sport is a successful cultural export – and ghetto brutality, dysfunction and violence (the bat being a weapon of choice). Stick features the adventures of a giant hockey stick as it moves through the Baroda riots in Gujarat and various sacred spaces of Hindu culture in India.

Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Professor Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire 

This essentially visual presentation will attempt to show how The Guardian newspaper in 2007, and then just as strongly during subsequent years, constantly suggests that European sports teams and clubs disproportionally overspend when buying, selling and keeping black players.  While this is not an unusual stance by journalists in the British sporting press, The Guardian by frequently and jokily representing footballers and athletes via mocking photographs, degrading texts and or damaging juxtapositions of both, subtly ‘reminds’ its readers, many of whom are public health and social workers, teachers and academics as well as workers in the creative industries, of historically familiar racial stereotypes. The newspaper designers, by taking this approach, contribute to a situation in which the athletes remain within a ‘state of unbelonging’.

Much of Lubaina Himid’s recent creative visual practice has been taken up with building this archive of images and texts. The creation of a series of paper works, Negative Positives, in which ‘over-painting to emphasise’ has gone some way towards reclaiming the dignity of the people represented has however, to some degree, minimalised the findings and rendered them outside the debates they were intended to develop. Through the sharing of a range of these collected images both overpainted and in their original state, many from the year of commemoration 2007, Himid will invite discussion around how this subtle and oftentimes witty degradation of wealthy black elites undermines the campaigns opposed to contemporary slavery while at the same time visually fixing the black person as ‘other’ to be bought and sold.

Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Professor Julia O’Connell Davidson, University of Nottingham

In dominant discourse on ‘trafficking’, mobility, debt and dependence are configured in a very particular way and the kind of debt involved is clearly marked as disturbing, dangerous, illegal, morally wrong. The trafficker’s objective is to make repayment impossible and so to establish personal, inescapable, and highly asymmetrical relations of power and dependency. Relations between trafficker and victim are represented as the very antithesis of freedom – trafficking is frequently referred to as ‘modern slavery’. And yet debt that generates relations of dependency is also often a feature of forms of mobility that are legally sanctioned; debt that compels people to take on work that they would otherwise refuse is hardly uncommon in Western liberal democracies; and the techniques used to recover legally sanctioned loans from citizen-debtors can be highly coercive. But legally sanctioned debt, backed by the coercive powers of the state, is not framed as ‘modern slavery’. Indeed, in neoliberal times, access to credit, i.e., the ability to indebt oneself by entering into socially sanctioned creditor-debtor relations, is a marker of social inclusion, something that both reflects and affirms political belonging and subjectivity. Starting from an interest in debt as a social relation, and in questions about why some debt relations are sanctioned while others are denounced, this paper is concerned with the ways in which liberal discourse on freedom, rights and citizenship constructs particular types of debt and dependency as ‘modern slavery’ while endorsing other arrangements that, from the vantage point of the individual affected, may appear equally if not more pernicious.

The full program me is now confirmed:

Programme of events 

1pm: Refreshments available

1.10 – 1.15: Welcome by Conference Co-Convener, Carolyn Pedwell, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

1:15 – 2:15: Professor Marcus Wood, School of English, University of Sussex: Film Performance and the Memory of Slavery in Very Liberal Times

Chair: Daniel McNeil, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University


2:15 – 3:15: Professor Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire: Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Chair: Daniel McNeil


3:15 – 3.45: Coffee break


3.45 – 4.45: Professor Julia O’Connell Davidson, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham: Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Chair: Anne Graefer, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University


4.45 – 5.45: Roundtable

Dr. Kate Manzo (Geography, Newcastle University); Dr. Diana Paton (History, Newcastle University); Dr. Rachel Wells (Fine Art, Newcastle University)

Chair: Carolyn Pedwell


6pm: Wine Reception, Northern Stage


Independence and After Conference Podcasts Online

LC-USZ62-125505 (b&w film copy neg.) Publication may be restricted. For information see "New York World-Telegram ...,"

To mark the centenary of the birth of Dr Eric Williams and in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of independence in Trinidad and Tobago, a one-day conference INDEPENDENCE AND AFTER: DR ERIC WILLIAMS & THE MAKING OF TRINIDAD & TOBAGO was held at the Institute for the Study of the Americas on the 27 September 2011. This conference explored the shaping of Trinidadian politics and society under the Williams’ administration and the legacies of this period today.

The conference was filmed and all panels are now available to view on:

Programme below. We are grateful to the Eric Williams Memorial Collection
Research Library, Archives & Museum at the University of the West Indies,
Trinidad and Tobago for thier generous funding of this conference.


10.00-10.05 Welcome and Introduction

10.05 – 11.15 Dissecting the Man and the Myth

Paul Sutton, Reader Emeritus, Hull University, Ryan on Williams: An Appreciation and Critique

Selwyn Ryan, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Response

Colin Palmer, Schomburg Center, Response

11.30 -1.00 Politics & Ethnicity

Colin Clarke, Professor Emeritus, Oxford University, Reflexions on Race, Religion and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago either side of Independence

Brinsley Samaroo, University of the West Indies, St Augustine. Dr Williams’ Academic East Indian Concerns

Humberto Garcia Muniz, University of Puerto Rico, The Pan-Caribbeanism of Eric Williams

2.00 – 3.15 Politics & National Culture

Teruyuki Tsuji, Kwansei Gakuin University, Villaging the Nation: Eric Williams and the Engineering of National Culture

Jacqueline Nunes, London School of Economics, Voice of the oppressed or the oppressor’s tool? A quantitative analysis of the relationship between calypso and the PNM

3.15 – 4.30 Personal Reflections on Political Times

Raoul Pantin, journalist and writer, Trinidad and Tobago, Eric Williams: A Personal Reflection

4.50-6.00 Legacies of the Williams Era

Matthew Bishop, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, The Legacy of Eric Williams and Contemporary Trinidadian Politics

ROUND TABLE followed by open discussion: Reflections on the Williams Era Including:

Colin Palmer, Schomburg Centre, New York
Selwyn Ryan, University of the West Indies, St Augustine
Brinsley Samaroo, University of the West Indies, St Augustine

To view the above talks online click here

Via: H-Caribbean @ h-net

White Anglo-Saxon Hopes and Black Americans’ Atlantic Dreams

White Anglo-Saxon Hopes and Black Americans’ Atlantic Dreams: Jack Johnson and the British Boxing Colour Bar by Theresa Runstedtler.

This article examines the controversy surrounding Jack Johnson’s proposed world heavyweight title fight against the British champion Bombardier Billy Wells in London (1911). In juxtaposing African Americans’ often glowing discussions of European tolerance with the actual white resistance the black champion faced in Britain, including the Home Office’s eventual prohibition of the match, the article explores the period’s transnational discourses of race and citizenship. Indeed, as white sportsmen on both sides of the Atlantic joined together in their search for a “White Hope” to unseat Johnson, the boxing ring became an important cultural arena for interracial debates over the political and social divisions between white citizens and nonwhite subjects.

Although African Americans had high hopes for their hero’s European sojourn, the British backlash against the Johnson-Wells match underscored the fact that their local experiences of racial oppression were just one facet of a much broader global problem. At the same time, the proposed prizefight also made the specter of interracial conflict in the colonies all the more tangible in the British capital, provoking public discussions about the merits of U.S. racial segregation, along with the need for white Anglo-Saxon solidarity around the world. Thus, this article not only exposes the underlying connections between American Jim Crow and the racialized fault lines of British imperialism, but it also traces the “tense and tender ties” linking U.S. and African American history with the new imperial history and postcolonial studies.

Read the full article at Project Muse

(Journal of World History, Volume 21, Number 4, December 2010, pp. 657-689)