Call for Submissions: Reading and Narrating Post-Slavery

Un esclave rebelle dans John Gabriel Stedman

Editors Lotte Pelckmans (University of Copenhagen) and Mads Anders Baggesgaard (Aarhus University, Denmark) call for submissions for a special issue—Lire et narrer le post-esclavage [Reading and Narrating Post-Slavery] (No. 4, April 2021). The deadline for abstracts (in French, English, Spanish, or Portuguese) is September 15, 2019.

Summary: The term ‘post-slavery’ has come into vogue as a catch-all for the complex timeline following the presumed abolition of slavery. In this special issue we wish to explore and question the concept through a focus on both visual and textual narratives of the afterlives of slavery, e.g. in literature, online (activist) platforms, human rights documentation, news-paper articles, pamphlets, films and theatre plays. We welcome both historical contributions on narratives of slavery following the abolition of slavery, as well as contributions demonstrating how past and present narratives have been used over time or are being used today.

Description: The term ‘post-slavery’ has come into vogue as a catch-all for the complex timeline following the presumed abolition of slavery. In this special issue we wish to explore and question the concept through a focus on both visual and textual narratives of the afterlives of slavery, e.g. in literature, online (activist) platforms, human rights documentation, news-paper articles, pamphlets, films and theatre plays. We welcome both historical contributions on narratives of slavery following the abolition of slavery, as well as contributions demonstrating how past and present narratives have been used over time or are being used today.

Much like the term post-colonial, post-slavery is often not only used to analytically distinguish between the temporal rupture before and after (=post) slavery, but it also came to represent a critical, normative and moral rupture, which exposes ‘the continuing legaciesof a state of affairs that should have ended’ (Rossi 2015), which is arguably ‘neo-abolitionistin intent.’ This unilinear, neo-abolitionist bias reinforces representations in which the temporal rupture from slavery to post-slavery is universally desirable and possible, and thereby risks to analytically turn a blind eye to the contemporary coevalness (Fabian 1990) of slavery and post-slavery. This becomes especially apparent in societies where the colonial abolition of slavery and/or international anti-slavery interventions have been and often continue to be seen as undesirable, romantic, exotic or even instrumental paternalistic projects from outside, mingling with and imposed on regional (e.g. West African) power balances.

In order to generate more room for the coexistence of both the fragmented and normative representations of (post-) slavery, this special issue calls for contributions exposing the polyphony, or even cacophony in historical or contemporary post-slavery narratives around the world. We explicitly invite contributions that draw attention to voices from the ‘Global South Atlantic’ (Bystrom & Slaughter 2018) supplementing the already very visible European and North American slavery and neoslave narratives.

We invite contributions that engage with

  • The understanding and theorization of the contemporary historiography of slavery in relation to (visual) narrative and literature including the topics of post-slavery, re-memory, and neo-slave narratives.
  • Literary and/or visual narrative reflections on contemporary and late-modern forms of slavery (indentured labour, human trafficking, refugee deportation, etc.) and their relationship to imperial and traditional forms of slavery, e.g. in Asia.
  • Texts or visuals that deal with the histories of different forms of slavery and their relationship with processes of abolition, e.g. in African societies.
  • The different historical uses of the memory of slavery in e.g. Caribbean and Latin American societies, images and literatures after abolition.
  • The use of (legal) archives, texts, visuals and databases in claims for reparations as a form of narrative and discursive genre (and modern practice) shaping (and reinforcing) ideas of post-slavery.
  • Testimonies from a variety of slavery-like conditions in post-slavery societies ranging from racial exclusion, indentured labour to human trafficking and xenophobia in e.g. Europe.
  • The impact and/or (un-)intended consequences and genres resulting from a global human rights-isation and humanitarian-isation of neo/(post-)slave narratives
  • The literary and /or visual implications of perhaps less studied post-slavery or (neo-)slave narratives: Muslim slave narratives, female slave narratives, white versus black post-slave narratives, child slave narratives, etc.
  • Narratives that move away from imperialist, essentialist representations/ topoi of the post-slave subject, e.g. in alternative ideological traditions such as afrofuturism, communism, orthodox Islam, etc.

Terms of submission: Authors should submit an abstract (in French, English, Spanish, or Portuguese), resulting from unpublished research by September 15th, 2019, through ciresc.redaction@cnrs.fr. Submissions must respect the publication guidelines available in www.esclavages.cnrs.fr/spip.php?article779.

Source: « Reading and Narrating Post-Slavery », Call for papers, Calenda (Published on Monday, March 18, 2019) https://calenda.org/583190

[Image above from Esclavages CIRESC; see http://www.esclavage-memoire.com/evenements/esclavages-et-post-esclavage-histoires-mobilisations-et-images-dans-le-monde-atlantique-xixe-xxie-siecle-seminaires-du-ciresc-2017-2018-273.html]

One thought on “Call for Submissions: Reading and Narrating Post-Slavery

  1. Good Morning from the Cayman Islands. My name is Gordon Solomon and I am a Caymanian artist. I recieved your invitation for art work submissions to the above subject. It would be my privilege to contribute a unique commssions towards your educational campaign.

    Please respone with regards to the above engagement,

    Gordon Solomon

    http://www.youtube.com/gordonsolomonart. +1 345 927 0536

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