Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Interrogating the feminist in contemporary (popular) culture

What do men and women want?

Maybe this has been discussed too often. Yet, the novelty of our rapidly transforming times uncomfortably redirects it to us. The acute specialization and compartmentalization of our living experiences means that often we’re observing the most obvious things from an outsider’s perspective. Of course, the full picture is hardly available to us (if ever it was available to humanity) despite our best efforts to empiricise our little knowledge and so, in that sense, tepid and stereotypical gender roles have always polarized opinions in all ages.

What we face, then, is the task of coming out of our respective existential bubbles to interrogate what we prefer to see, hear, think and speak forth. Feminist convictions have been challenged throughout the ages by the most hostile and fundamentalist naysayers. It is to the feminist/specialist that we have to go to understand the shifting patterns of women’s liberation and feminism and their location within and as part of the changing theatres of our civilisational battles.

This issue, therefore, is addressed to the feminist movement – the feminist movement not in the academia but in so-called popular culture, in and amongst the masses as it were. For if we are to successfully counter the alarmingly popular charge that feminists have become outmoded in this commodified globalised world, we must generate discourse on the reach and efficacy of feminism not within the confines of universities and the supposed centres of (formalised) theory but in all those areas and places which it has always meant to invert. Also, if much of feminism has become gentrified in accordance with bourgeois models, then we need to explore the relevance of such politics as it relates to our present and to our future.

In a way, what is at hand is not feminism but feminisms. For Issue 2, Volume 5 of Literophile, we invite critical interrogations on the presence and success of these feminisms – radically subversive of bourgeois politics or otherwise – in streets, homes and workplaces. These interrogations should be mailed to literophile@gmail.com by Sunday, 15th of July 2012 as original and annotated papers and/or semi-academic articles and commentaries of not more than 3,000 words. Contributors may focus on the following pointers:

a)      Traditional woman verses modern woman: a misconceived/untruthful divide?
b)      (Re?)defining ‘Indian woman’ in mainstream media. Soap operas, cinema, music and more.
c)      Obsessions of urban women: commodification and identity.
d)     An activist academia? Changes in feminist theory globally.
e)      Grassroots activism: women’s empowerment or bourgeois indoctrination?
f)       (Re?)claiming the city: feminism, urbanity and the anxiety for space.
g)      Yours graphically: feminism, erotica, porn.

Please note that papers must be annotated in accordance with MLA regulations. Contributors are also requested to submit short bio-notes (of not more than 200 words).

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Art as a mode of resistance to colonialism in India: Call for Contributions; Issue 1, Volume 5, Literophile

In the history of India’s anti-colonial struggle, revolutionary ideological innovations and political upheavals are usually located in the 1920s. It was then that surging nationalistic fervour gave civil resistance a central role in the anti-colonial struggle and it was against this backdrop that art in India emerged as an effective medium for the expression of anti-colonial sentiments.

At the end of the year 1922, an exhibition of the works of various Bauhaus artists was held in Calcutta; a momentous event due to which December 1922 is often identified as the fount of Modernism in Indian art. Artists developed aspects of art as expressions of carefully cultivated modes of resistances and interactions between global modernity and nationalist politics in the construction of a national identity led to adoption of a new language of Modernism by Indian artists. In this way, artists came to play a central role in India’s anti-colonial struggle and their works became a reflection of debates and political concerns of the times. Such engagement of art with the politics of decolonisation/anti-colonialism becomes all too evident in the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Shergill, Jamini Roy, the towering figures of Modernism in Indian Art. Modernism provided these three and several Indian artists with the artistic vocabulary and freedom to respond to Colonialism in their own unique ways.

Issue 1, Volume 5 of Literophile invites from the student community original and annotated papers and/or semi-academic articles and commentaries of not more than 2,500 words respectively addressing issues and debates that emerged at this particular juncture in history. Contributors may also append images of particular art works should they be pertinent to their contributions. We invite by 25th March, 2012 interpretations of works of various artists, comments on critical responses to these art works or analyses of popular responses to various artists and their works. However, this is not meant to limit discussions in papers to merely the areas discussed above. Our aim is to encourage intellectual and literary engagement with this period in history and hopefully, also evoke and respond to questions pertaining to the role of art in society. Please mail contributions and queries to literophile@gmail.com