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Solidarity Aesthetics

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Organizer: Anthony Alessandrini

Co-Organizer: Anna Bernard

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Does solidarity have an aesthetics? How would we recognize or define such a thing, and how might it challenge our assumptions about what art is and does? Building on Hannah Feldman and Rebecca Johnson's investigations of "solidarity aesthetics," this seminar focuses on the formal and stylistic techniques of the literary, visual, and sonic cultures of solidarity activism, setting them in relation to this work’s political commitments and its efforts to catalyze, sustain, and expand particular movements and mobilizations. The aesthetic features of such work often challenge conventional distinctions between modernism and realism, art and propaganda, critique and didacticism, and literary and extraliterary genres. They highlight the limitations of dominant strategies of interpretation when it comes to analysing explicitly partisan art, as well as the occlusion of minoritized and/or past traditions of politicized criticism from much contemporary critical practice. We invite papers on any aspect of solidarity aesthetics, with a particular interest in questions of genre, audience, and address; transhistorical and transregional comparison; traveling aesthetics; and critical and artistic vocabularies of commitment and persuasion. We are interested in the cultural production of both contemporary and past solidarity movements, including but not limited to decolonization and its legacies, and in all forms that might be described as cultural activism, including fiction, film, poetry, journalism, visual culture, anthologies, life writing, manifestos, graffiti, song, performance, etc. This seminar is organized by members of the International Solidarity Action Research Network ( Our previous ACLA seminars include International Solidarity and World Literature (2018); Solidarity, Failure, and the Role of the Critic (2019); and Solidarity in Translation (2021). We welcome abstracts from new as well as past participants in our events.  

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