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CFP Issue 26: Countercultures (2018)



Antonio Berni, Manifestación (1934); Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina


Recently, there has been an increase in mistrust regarding the political establishment. Forms of expressing this disconformity have been at the centre of public and academic discussion. Countercultures, as attempts to find an alternative to social conformity, are central to these expressions of dissent. Books like Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies: Online culture wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the alt-right (2017) highlight the resurgence of youth subcultures in the last decade. Correspondingly, counterculture movements on both sides of the political divide have seen their numbers multiplied.

Art, fashion, literature, cinema and music have historically been vehicles to express and disseminate dissent. From the murals of Diego Rivera to those of Banksy, and from the Romantic Jacobins to the South African EFF, dissenting and countercultural movements have used the arts to stand against powerful social institutions. Likewise, countercultural movements have found their way into the politics of those who want to preserve the existing social structures. Donald Trump’s promise to ‘Drain the Swamp’ while reinforcing conservative values appealed to a large mass of US voters who saw the rise of the left as a menace to their lifestyle. In this context of anti-establishment sentiment, large corporations, too, have made use of the aesthetics of dissent for private gain, as was the case with Pepsi Co.’s controversial Kendall Jenner ad.

Issue 26 of FORUM seeks contributions from a range of disciplines that engage with the notions of counterculture and dissent. How do countercultural movements interact with powerful social institutions? How do historical and current countercultural movements differ? What role do race, class, and gender play in the expression and dissemination of dissenting ideas? What roles do the arts play in the development of organised and non- organised resistance? Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Conservative and radical subcultures

  • Historical countercultures

  • Violent and non-violent forms of protest

  • Party aesthetics and political propaganda

  • The rise of the alt-right and the conservative youth

  • Graffiti, muralism, and dissenting public art

  • Pamphlet printing, cartoneras, and self-organised presses

  • Protest songs, hippies, and folk music

  • BAME countercultures

  • Arts in popular and student movements

  • Counterculture in the fashion and music industries

  • Situationism, urbanism, and revolutionising the city

  • Online/offline activism

  • Representations of countercultures in literature

  • Fictional countercultures

Papers must be between 3,000 – 5,000 words in length, formatted according to MLA guidelines. FORUM is also considering academic book reviews (1,000 words) and multimedia and alternative presentations for publication. Please e-mail your article, a short abstract and your academic CV in separate, clearly labelled DOC(X). files to editors@forumjournal.org by 26 February 2018. All eligible articles will be peer reviewed prior to publication. Only one submission per author per issue is permitted.

Read more about CFP Issue 26: Countercultures (2018)

Current Issue

No 25 (2017): Truth

Image: Copyright Wellcome Images

The idea of truth has become all the more contentious in light of recent social and political developments. Truth claims have long been a cause for scepticism within the humanities, with the advent of poststructuralism particularly highlighting the interaction between “truth” and power, leading scholars to be suspicious of transcendental truths or metanarratives. Feminists and writers of colour have raised similar concerns about truth claims; Jane Flax asks, “If there is no objective basis for distinguishing between true and false beliefs, then it seems that power alone will determine the outcome of competing truth claims” (Feminism/Postmodernism 42). In this light, discourses surrounding truth have been deemed somewhat suspicious, particularly for marginalised groups. There has likewise been scrutiny on the truth effects created in literature, and how generic conventions naturalise certain metanarratives. With this in mind, how can literature and popular culture use fiction to engage with truth and the power dynamics implicit in it?

The position of truth in the humanities has been further complicated by recent public discourse, influenced by the Trump administration and the Brexit campaign. These have ushered in an era of post-truth, Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year 2016. Post- truth, which the OED describes as a state in which public opinion is based on emotion and belief rather than objective fact, closely aligns with what Stephen Colbert refers to as “truthiness,” defined as “the belief in what you feel to be true rather than what the facts will support” (“‘Post-Truth' Is Just A Rip-Off Of ‘Truthiness’” YouTube). The post-truth era has highlighted the dangers of eschewing the notion of truth altogether, exposing how easily the pubic can be swayed by arguments that tap into their social anxiety and biases, regardless of conflicting evidence. What role can both fiction and non-fiction play in navigating the post- truth era? How is the distinction between fiction and non-fiction complicated by the precarious position of truth in contemporary society?

Issue 25 of FORUM engages with a range of disciplines that consider the concept of truth in a post-truth era.


Editors: Vicki Madden and Maria Torres-Quevedo

Review Team Autumn 2017: Sibyl Adam, Valentina Paz Aparicio, Enti Arends, Tamara Browne, Rachel Chung*, Sini Eikonsalo, Richard Elliott, Abby Gould, Eleanor Grayson*, Kiefer Holland, Anna Jurek, Anna Kemball*, June Laurenson, Kyriana Lynch*, Harriet MacMillan, Jen Madeley, Mohamed Mahmoud, Ciara McKay, Stella Medvedeva, Beata Migut, Bridget Moynihan, Aija Oksman, Alycia Pirmohamed, Robyn Pritzker, Vivek Santayana, Julie Sorokurs, Marianne Tyvand, Toni Velikova, Felix von Helden. Article editors are marked with a (*).

Published: 18-Dec-2017
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