35th Annual SAVAH Conference

To be hosted by the research entity Visual Narratives and Creative Outputs and the Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, 21-23 September 2020.

FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS (click here to submit yours)

Untold stories

“Stories give flesh to the bare bones. Out of stories, we make culture, not from the bones of the dead, though the bones are the rationale for stories being told. Whereas in art, this impulse is clearer, science too is about telling certain stories. It is out of stories that we make society. Out of stories an individual constructs a self.” Kopano Ratele, Life of Bone (2011)

“All of which makes up a story I do not choose to tell. I choose not to tell it because to no one, not even to you, do I owe proof that I am a substantial being with a substantial history in the world” JM Coetzee, Foe (1986)

Stories capture the elusiveness of creating and imagining by linking the act of telling with being. Stories make us, and we make ourselves through the stories we hear and don’t hear, tell and don’t tell. Over millennia and across cultures, stories about particular places, persons, materials, objects, or ideas have been told and retold in different ways and from different perspectives. In the process, some narratives have gone unheard, unseen or have even actively been silenced. The year 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade. How might we re-imagine our collective past and imagine the future through the creation of new stories or the un-telling of old stories? How do we go about uncovering, sharing or recording previously untold or silenced stories – our own and those of others?

We propose that engagement with the work of artists, artworks, visual culture and design, as practices of storytelling or narrative, may offer constructive ways of understanding, unravelling, and contributing to current discourse on the visual field.

We invite papers that explore, inquire, and reflect on visual expression and ways of storytelling that work towards acknowledging, understanding, and (re-)visualising narratives. This is an invitation to scholars to evaluate and re-evaluate positions taken in the field (conceptual and metaphorical frameworks and locations), or in relation to material objects and their existences or locations.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Tensions between visuality, materiality, orality, and textuality in and through narrative
  • Visual storytelling (such as artist’s books, graphic novels, cartoons, illustration, animation, branding and campaigns)
  • Relating experiences of place and space or situatedness through stories
  • Collaborative storytelling and ways of collectively engaging with or sharing stories
  • Notions of truth and fiction, history and myth in visual storytelling
  • Memory, remembrance, visual narrative and re-story-ation
  • Palimpsests, intertextuality, bricolage and (visual) layers of narrative
  • Liminality and boundary crossing
  • Surfacing the hidden through storytelling
  • Archives, archival material and subaltern voices

We also invite papers from SAVAH members on current research that engages topics not included in this call for papers. Please submit an abstract of between 300 and 400 words via the savah.org.za website by 30 March 2020.

We are excited that the conference coincides with the Aardklop National Arts festival. Please book accommodation well in advance. Any questions relating to the conference can be sent to conference@savah.org.za.

Attention all 34th Annual SAVAH conference participants:

Call for papers for a themed component of de arte titled Speaking with ghosts: Hauntology, memory, nostalgia and other ways of engaging with past/present/future

We are pleased to announce this call for papers for a themed component of de arte, titled Speaking with ghosts: Hauntology, memory, nostalgia and other ways of engaging with past/present/future that draws on the issues explored at the 34th Annual SAVAH CONFERENCE, hosted by The Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (11–13 Sept. 2019).

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, archaeology, architecture, design, and photography.

We invite papers of 5000- 8000 words that engage with the theme to be submitted for consideration for publication in de arte via Editorial Manager at www.edmgr.com/rdat by 31 January 2020. All submissions will be subject to double-blind peer review.

Any questions to do with this call for papers can be sent to Nike Romano (Romanon@cput.ac.za) and Alison Kearney (Alison.kearney@wits.ac.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.