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Global Decolonization in the Art and Literature of the Americas

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Organizer: Scott Challener

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This seminar aims to create a cross-disciplinary conversation among scholars working at the intersections of Latin American, Latino/a/x, Caribbean, and hemispheric studies. We invite papers that investigate one or both of the following over-arching questions concerning the contested field of the Americas and the era of global decolonization. First, how did the art and literature of this period respond to emergent discourses of decolonization? Second, how do contemporary artworks conceptualize, update, and reconfigure historical decolonization and its legacies?

With this focus, we are interested in talks that consider how literary and artistic objects produced and circulated in the Americas reflect on the various forms, expressions, rhythms, and failures of earlier modes of internationalism, expansionism, and anticolonialism. At the same time, we also invite contributions that examine how poetic and narrative forms speculate on or otherwise engage nascent and recrudescent forms of colonialism, including neocolonialism, internal colonialism, semi-colonialism, and peripheral colonialism. 
Papers might also address questions regarding how the art and literature of the Americas mediate points of convergence between colonialism and capitalism. How do these artworks model anti-colonial and anti-capitalist ways of thinking and imagining? How do artworks produced in the era of global decolonization anticipate neoliberalization and globalization? Likewise, how do contemporary artworks understand historical decolonization in relation to these processes? How do these artworks trade on the contradictions, possibilities, and fragmentary logics of global decolonization? How do struggles with and for representation--including contests over genre categorization and translation--shape the uneven trajectories and reception of these artworks? How do the entanglements of class, indigeneity, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, and language contour the field(s) and artworlds of the Americas? What methods are best suited to interpreting global decolonization in the art and literature of the Americas? 
We are not interested in papers that work exclusively from frameworks developed by decolonial studies or in micro-historicist or micro-institutional approaches. That said, we welcome and encourage papers that consider the histories of these approaches, or that examine particular concepts or paradigms—e.g. coloniality of power, decolonial aesthetics, or other related terms—in relation to one or more of the above questions. How might attention to global decolonization in the art and literature of the Americas inform current debates in Latin American, Latino/a/x, Caribbean, and hemispheric studies?

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