Special call for submissions for the Javett Foundation SAVAH Conference Participation Grant

Attention all Masters students in Visual Arts and related fields, registered at a South African university, and who are current SAVAH members:

We are pleased to announce this special call for papers for Masters Degree students who are members of SAVAH to participate in our 34th Annual SAVAH CONFERENCE, to be hosted by The Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, 11-13 September 2019.

Remember membership is FREE for Masters students!
(To register please click on the ‘join’ button on the right).

Through a generous donation from the Javett Foundation, a limited number of Javett Foundation SAVAH Conference Participation Grants are available. These grants will cover the costs of economy transport and accommodation costs, as well as all conference-related fees.

Eligibility criteria: 

  • The applicant must be a SAVAH member.
  • The applicant  must be registered for a Full-time Masters Degree programme in Visual Arts/Fine Arts/Art History or related discipline at a South African University.
  • The applicant’s abstract/paper must be accepted into the conference.
  • The applicant must be a South African citizen or permanent resident
  • The applicant must not be in possession of an existing travel grant/scholarship that can enable the student to attend the conference

Speaking with ghosts: Hauntology, memory, nostalgia and other ways of engaging with past/present/future.

Hauntology is a composite of ‘haunting’ and ‘ontology’ proposed by Jacques Derrida (1993) as a way of thinking about the presence of absent figures, which haunt the world in an ambiguous state of being neither alive nor dead. To use the metaphor of haunting conjures ghosts and specters, tangible but not entirely whole or extant beings, inherited from the past and discernible in the present. The ‘ghost’ therefore inhabits a disjointed timespace in which ‘anything is possible’ as the past and present co-exist on a transitory plane.

As a theme in critical theory, hauntology turns to the past in order to make sense of the present, to understand how we got to this place and to consider what’s to come.To speak with ghosts, as Karen Barad (2010: 264)[1] suggests, is not a project of reconstruction, but a means:

to acknowledge and be responsive to the non-contemporaneity of the present, to put oneself at risk, to risk oneself (which is never one or self), to open oneself up to indeterminacy in moving towards what is to-come.

We propose this theme as a productive framework for addressing the challenges of working with what we inherit, and for dealing with contemporary concerns around existence in transition. We invite scholars to critically engage with aspects of past and present, the notion of Hauntology, memory, nostalgia and related concepts in the visual domain, including visual art, archeology, architecture, design, and photography.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • What different ways are there for dealing with the past, present and future? 
  • How can academics take up the challenge to respond and take responsibility for that which we inherit?
  • How do we exorcise or live with the ghosts of colonization within the decolonial project?
  • What kind of insights and blindnesses are produced through spectral encounters with forms of visual and material culture?
  • What happens when we admit the ghost—that special instance of the merging of the visible and the invisible, the dead and the living, the past and the present—into meaning making?
  • What are the implications of spectral encounters for pedagogical practice?
  • Can art and aesthetics be instrumental in putting ghosts to rest, or should art rather invoke or agitate the ghost?
  • In what ways does the past affect present and future imaginings?
  • How has art been politicised by the ghosts of the past?
  • What is the role of nostalgia in imaging pasts, presents and futures?

We will also invite papers from SAVAH members on current research that engages topics not included in this rubric.

Please submit an abstract of between 300 and 400 words via the www.savah.org.za website by 17 May 2019. Please indicate your interest in the Javett Foundation Participation Grant when submitting your abstract.

Any questions to do with the conference can be sent to conference@savah.org.za

[1]                See Barad, K. 2010. Quantum Entanglements and Hauntological Relations of Inheritance: Dis/continuities, SpaceTime Enfoldings, and Justice-to-Come. Derrida Today 3,2: 240–268.