*** Updated CfP and Extended Deadline ***
Please see below for an important amendment to this Call for Papers regarding I/indigenous poetics. Many thanks to our friends for help with this. Furthermore, we are delighted to announce our keynote speaker, Professor Denise Ferreira da Silva, and a special poetry showcase featuring recent BAME winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, run by the Poetry Society.
Race and Poetics and Poetry in the UK:
Legacies of Colonialism
Friday 26th-Saturday 27th October 2018
University of Cambridge
Against the contemporary reality of Brexit and an openly racist and sexist US president, alongside draconian detention and deportation policies, anti-black and anti-Muslim violence in the UK and US, and the ongoing neglect of indigenous people’s dispossession, it is time to stop doing poetry and poetry studies as usual.
The work of Black British poets and thinkers has been crucial for more than half a century in linking the issues of race, ethics, and aesthetics. Recent events, projects, and publications centring writers of colour in the UK include Vahni Capildeo winning the Forward Prize, ‘decolonise the curriculum’ campaigns at various universities, Octavia Poetry Collective, the Ledbury scheme for emerging BAME critics, Out of Bounds anthology and the subsequent Beyond Bounds tour, The Good Immigrant anthology, Media Diversified news outlet, Gal-Dem magazine, Freed Verse: Diversity in British Poetry report, and Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry’s issue on race. And yet, it is not unusual for poetry publications, scholarship, and academic conferences to remain quiet on the issue of race, especially racism. For example, while the relationship between ‘experimental’ or ‘difficult’ poetry and capitalism has been the subject of much compelling critical writing in the UK, little attention has been given to poetry’s relationship to race, racism, and the legacies of colonialism. As critics such as Glen Coulthard (Yellowknives Dene) and Audra Simpson (Mohawk) have shown, settler colonialism is a race-based system of capitalist exploitation and dispossession that has creatively adapted its modes of domination, most obviously through a politics of recognition and supposed ‘truth and reconciliation’. While these racialising processes continue to shape discourses of poetry and settler colonialism, work by I/indigenous poets – for example, the poetry of Marie Annharte Baker (Anishinaabe) and Natalie Knight (Yurok/Navajo) – has robustly critiqued the political agenda that undergirds them. How do poetries produced outside of the UK—particularly the I/indigenous poetics of former British colonies (but not only those)—stand in relationship to the literary marketplace, cultural imaginaries, and economic systems of this country, and what we can learn from them in this regard?
This conference is a follow up to the first ‘Race & Poetry & Poetics in the UK’ symposium that took place in London in February 2016. We call for the radical re-thinking of the ways in which poetry and poetics are conceived, analysed, and discussed in the UK, of the ways in which poetry and poetics are undergirded by legacies of colonialism in terms of racialized belief systems, practices, and sciences. We do not propose ameliorative and tokenizing ‘diversity’ practices, but a wholesale overturning and rethinking of ‘English-language’ ‘Anglo-American’ poetry and poetics from the foundations up, taking account of racial ideologies, which cannot be thought separately from class and gender. We aim to expose the liberal myths of multiculturalism, ‘colour-blindness’, and ‘post-racial society’, and to explore how the discourse of ‘diversity’ impedes frank discussions of racism in literary and academic contexts. This conference is about radical politics as much as it is about radical poetics.
We are interested in academic papers and panels, roundtable discussions, creative responses, and poetry readings and performances. We welcome scholars inside and outside the academy, poets, critics, teachers, librarians, publishers, editors, activists, students, and all others.
Please send 200-word proposals to [email protected]
by Sunday 29th July 2018.
Please visit our website rapapuk.com
for the full call for papers and for more information about the conference and the organising committee, which includes: Janani Ambikapathy, Mary Jean Chan, Amy De’Ath, James Goodwin, Edmund Hardy, Nat Raha, Nisha Ramayya, Sophie Seita, Sam Solomon, Siddharth Soni, Laurel Uziell, Dorothy Wang.