October, 174: A Questionnaire on Decolonization (2020)

22 March 2021, dusan

“The term decolonize has gained a new life in recent art activism, as a radical challenge to the Eurocentrism of museums (in light of Native, Indigenous, and other epistemological perspectives) as well as in the museum’s structural relation to violence (either in its ties to oligarchic trustees or to corporations engaged in the business of war or environmental depredation). In calling forth the mid-twentieth-century period of decolonization as its historical point of reference, the word’s emphatic return is rhetorically powerful, and it corresponds to a parallel interest among scholars in a plural field of postcolonial or global modernisms. The exhortation to decolonize, however, is not uncontroversial-some believe it still carries a Eurocentric bias. Indeed, it has been proposed that, for the West, de-imperialization is perhaps even more urgent than decolonization.

What does the term decolonize mean to you in your work in activism, criticism, art, and/or scholarship? Why has it come to play such an urgent role in the neoliberal West? How can we link it historically with the political history of decolonization, and how does it work to translate postcolonial theory into a critique of the neocolonial contemporary art world?”

Respondents include Nana Adusei-Poku, Brook Andrew, Sampada Aranke, Ian Bethell-Bennett, Kader Attia, Andrea Carlson, Elise Y. Chagas, ISUMA, Iftikhar Dadi, Janet Dees, Nitasha Dhillon, Hannah Feldman, Josh T. Franco, David Garneau, Renee Green, Iman Issa, Arnold J. Kemp, Thomas Lax, Nancy Luxon, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Saloni Mathur, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Alan Michelson, Partha Mitter, Isabela Muci Barradas, Steven Nelson, Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Alessandro Petti, Paulina Pineda, Christopher Pinney, Elizabeth Povinelli, Ryan Rice, Andrew Ross, Paul Chaat Smith, Nancy Spector, Francoise Verges, Rocio Zambrana, and Joseph R. Zordan.

Edited by Huey Copeland, Hal Foster, David Joselit, and Pamela M. Lee
Publisher MIT Press, Fall 2020
Open access
ISSN 0162-2870
123 pages

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Kareem Estefan, Carin Kuoni, Laura Raicovich (eds.): Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production (2017)

27 September 2020, dusan

“Boycott and divestment are essential tools for activists around the globe. Today’s organizers target museums, universities, corporations, and governments to curtail unethical sources of profit, discriminatory practices, or human rights violations. They leverage cultural production – and challenge its institutional supports – helping transform situations in the name of social justice.

The refusal to participate in an oppressive system has long been one of the most powerful weapons in the organizer’s arsenal. Since the days of the 19th century Irish land wars, when Irish tenant farmers defied the actions of Captain Charles Boycott and English landlords, “boycott” has been a method that’s shown its effectiveness time and again. In the 20th century, it notably played central roles in the liberation of India and South Africa and the struggle for civil rights in the U.S.: the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott is generally seen as a turning point in the movement against segregation.

Assuming Boycott is the essential reader for today’s creative leaders and cultural practitioners, including original contributions by artists, scholars, activists, critics, curators and writers who examine the historical precedent of South Africa; the current cultural boycott of Israel; freedom of speech and self-censorship; and long-distance activism. Far from withdrawal or cynicism, boycott emerges as a productive tool of creative and productive engagement.

Including essays by Nasser Abourahme, Ariella Azoulay, Tania Bruguera, Noura Erakat, Kareem Estefan, Mariam Ghani with Haig Aivazian, Nathan Gray and Ahmet Öğüt, Chelsea Haines, Sean Jacobs, Yazan Khalili, Carin Kuoni and Laura Raicovich, Svetlana Mintcheva, Naeem Mohaiemen, Hlonipha Mokoena, John Peffer, Joshua Simon, Ann Laura Stoler, Radhika Subramaniam, Eyal Weizman and Kareem Estefan, and Frank B. Wilderson III.”

Publisher OR Books, New York, 2017
ISBN 9781944869434, 1944869433
276 pages

Reviews: Rebecca Wolff (H-AMCA, 2018), Kim Jensen (Mondoweiss, 2017), Marguerite Dabaie (Electronic Intifada, 2017), Robert Bryan (Tribes, 2017).

Series of seminars (Vera List Center, 2015, with videos)
Book launch (New School, 2017, with video)

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Interface, 12(1): Organizing amidst COVID-19: Sharing Stories of Struggle (2020)

8 July 2020, dusan

“The world is on fire, with both fever and flame. After a few months of lockdown, things are erupting in new ways. The movement for Black Lives is demanding an end to anti-Black racism and conversations about abolishing the police are on late night television. In North America, a new world appears to be dawning, one that didn’t seem possible even a month ago. Meanwhile, in the new centre of global capitalism, the long-standing Hong Kong movement seems to be on the point of succumbing to a new wave of repression.

Around the world, movements are strategizing about how to ensure that no one is left behind. In April we put out a call for short pieces on this theme. We could see that the imminent arrival of the virus had generated many different struggles – initially pressure to force some states to take action in the first place, resistance to cuts and demanding benefits. Then came struggles characterized by mutual aid, efforts to protect essential workers, and the most vulnerable, such as the homeless, prisoners, the elderly and the undocumented.

This issue contains pieces originally written for our rolling coverage of movements in the virus, as well as a few pieces written especially for this special issue. They represent reflective activists and engaged researchers trying to grasp what their movements were doing, and what they should do, in an unprecedented situation.

The contributions reflect on movements in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, the UK, the US and globally and are written in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.” (from Editorial)

Edited by Sutapa Chattopadhyay, Lesley Wood, and Laurence Cox
Publisher Interface, July 2020
ISSN 2009-2431
683 pages

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