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17.10.2020 09:52 Alter: 42 days

Rethinking Postcolonial Europe

Call for Papers

Theme: Rethinking Postcolonial Europe
Subtitle: Moving Identities, Changing Subjectivities
Type: 8th Postgraduate Forum Postcolonial Narrations
Institution: International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture
(GCSC), Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Location: Online
Date: 10.–12.2.2021
Deadline: 15.11.2020

Thinking ‘Europe’ as an idea, a geographical space, and a political
force is inseparable from thinking about its history of imperialism,
its postcolonial legacies, and its preoccupation with questions of in
and outside, centre and periphery, the self and the other. Migration
and the current so-called refugee crisis not only urge a changing
perception of those power hierarchies that tend to divide the world
between ‘the west’ and ‘the rest’ but also compel new discourses of
national and cultural identity and belonging. The recent resurgence
of populism and racism connected to the rise of right-wing parties in
several European states serves as an uneasy reminder of the
continuing influence of hegemonic ideas of European exceptionalism
and cultural superiority. Global inequalities persist and the freedom
of movement remains linked to where one comes from. At the same time,
however, practices of resistance and emancipation in migrant/BPoC
self-organisation reimagine Europe as an entangled space (Randeria
1999) that was and is home for different people. Received notions of
nation and culture as well as identity and subjectivity have
undergone a dramatic change, vividly reflected in the domains of art,
literature, media, law, and politics. Investigating these current
dynamics from a post-/decolonial perspective is thus crucial to
understanding contemporary Europe as a contradictory space and a
contested place.

Exploring Europe from a post-/decolonial perspective, the conference
lays emphasis on rethinking Europe and its borders to generate a
discussion about ‘travelling cultures’ (Clifford 1992), diasporic and
migrant communities, hybrid identities, changing subjectivities,
cultural translations (Bachmann-Medick 2012), transnational and
transcultural relations, neo/cosmopolitanism, or neo-nomadism
(Dagnino 2013), to name but a few.  In our world on the move, it
becomes increasingly conspicuous that people, ideas, cultures, or
resources cannot be understood in terms of traditional, binary models
of centre and periphery, South and North or East and West as
“cultural conditions today are largely characterized by mixes and
permeation” (Welsch 1999: 197) in the wake of transnational
relations. In the 21st century, post-/decolonial studies continue to
deconstruct the myths around Europe by interrogating the histories
and geographies of power associated with Europe and its (colonial)
legacy around the globe.

In light of the conference theme, the following questions can be
addressed: How have practices of travel and mobility in the age of
globalization altered traditional concepts of culture and identity?
How can post/decolonial literatures, art, and practices imaginatively
refigure (Gikandi 1991) Europe as a geographical space as well as an
idea? Why is it important today to understand and acknowledge the
role of marginalized communities in transforming the idea of Europe?
How do past and present migration policies and other governmental
practices shape the idea and geography of Europe, or rather of
“multiple Europes” (Boatca 2013)?

We welcome papers which engage with but are not limited to the
following areas of interest and research:

- New perspectives and approaches in post-/decolonial studies
- Representations of Europe and its ‘Others’ in different media
- Narratives of European identity in and beyond the EU
- Legacies of European colonialism in the 21st century
- Post-/decolonial/ Critical Migration Studies
- Afro-European Studies
- Critical Race Studies
- Memory Studies
- Narratives of Displacement
- Diaspora Studies
- Transnational and transcultural Studies
- Queer and intersectional approaches
- Political, legal, and human rights perspectives
- World Literature / World Anglophone Studies
- Tourism/Travel Media
- Performing Arts

There will also be an opportunity to present projects and work in
progress in the form of a digital poster session. If you are
interested in contributing, please send an abstract (300-500 words
for a 15-minute presentation; 150-200 words for a poster
presentation), a short biographical note and the topic of your
current project, preferably as one pdf file, to no later than November 15, 2020.

The postgraduate forum Postcolonial Narrations brings together young
scholars (MA students, Doctoral candidates, Postdoctoral fellows) to
foster an exchange of ideas in the field of postcolonial literatures
and cultures. For more information, go to:

The present conference is organized as a digital event in cooperation
with GAPS (Gesellschaft für Anglophone Postkoloniale Studien) and the
GCSC (International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture).

Organizing Committee:
Nadia Butt, Theresa Krampe, Johanna Munzel, Jeannette Oholi, Nadiye


International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC)
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Alter Steinbacher Weg 38
35394 Gießen