CFP: Workshop ‘Protest Culture – Cultural Protest’

Call for Papers: Workshop ‘Protest Culture – Cultural Protest’,

November 15-16, 2013, Collegium Polonicum, Słubice

Recent protest movements in different parts of the world are characterized by aesthetic intervention and artistic creativity while it becomes more and more difficult to explain these protests in political terms or by using the standard concepts which the theory of social movements has to offer. The workshop focuses on such recent phenomena as (post)migrant and (post)feminist art forms and activism. We seek to analyze different forms of protest as manifestations of cultural spaces and practices which are less grounded on social identities and political claims, and more so on explorative or challenging visions of national culture, gender and secularity. Such critical interventions tend to highlight agency in diverse ways of life rather than the fact of being marginalized or stigmatized.

We invite participants to explore the analytical frameworks by which these new kinds of culture-based protest can be described. We propose to focus on the notions of the postmigrant, the queer and (post)feminist as well as the post- or asecular for describing new phenomena of cultural protest that cuts across the binaries associated with the migrant, the feminist and the secular.

Cultural practices and artistic interventions of the postmigrant, (post)feminist and post- or asecular may be understood as remaining bound to binary orders of migration, gender and secularity, and at the same time interrupting or changing the conditions and effects of such orders of difference. In Berlin, for example, the actors of the ‘Postmigrant Theatre’, or the protagonists of the ‘Club of Polish Losers’, are provocatively, or ironically, challenging ascriptions migrants have traditionally been confronted with by retelling their life-stories and, thus, displaying the normalcy of experiences such as being displaced and of multiple belonging. With the notion of the (post)feminist we suggest to think about phenomena such as slutwalk, Pussy Riot or Femen which create new publics of transnational collectivity and solidarity that depend mainly on the global circulation of images and knowledge. The notions of the post-secular or asecular could be used to reflect on forms of protest by religious groups under secular conditions or, more generally, on forms of protest that challenge the religious/secular dichotomy.

We invite participants to reflect on forms of critical and subversive engagement with national culture, gender and secularity in the field of artistic practice and visual culture. Papers should take empirical phenomena as a point of departure for their reflections on the post-migrant, (post)feminist or post- or asecular. Central questions may concern

the aesthetics of cultural protest and the notion of political art that is being affirmed or put into question by these protests
the media of cultural protest and the impact of global or transnational media and new media formats for protest and political art
the ethics of cultural protest and the kind of political visions, social norms and moral values linked to recent forms of protest

The workshop will take place in November 15-16, 2013, at the Collegium Polonicum in Słubice; it is organized jointly with the Department of Comparative Social and Cultural Anthropology at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder.

Please submit an abstract of max. 500 words and a short biographical note until August 15, 2013 to protestkultur(at)

Organizers: Katharina Blumberg-Stankiewicz, Sarah Dornhof, Jennifer Ramme

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