CFP for The Global South Atlantic

CFP for The Global South Atlantic

Kerry Bystrom, Bard College and ECLA of Bard (
Joseph R. Slaughter, Columbia University (


Atlantic Studies, as a field of historical, literary, visual, economic, political and cultural analysis, has tended to focus on exchanges across the North Atlantic Ocean. Transformative studies like Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic (1992) opened the field to the South by demonstrating the centrality of the slave trade and the African diaspora to any understanding of the “Atlantic World.” Yet, even that South was largely situated in the North, around systems of circulation and exchange among Africa, North America, the Caribbean and Europe. Despite the rise in oceanic, hemispheric, and regional studies in the past decade, and despite the institutional transformations of Transatlantic, Black Atlantic and Diaspora studies, the South Atlantic has not emerged as a particularly potent conceptual or analytical configuration in cultural studies; nor has it emerged as a particularly coherent social and economic image-space in geopolitics.

In this volume of collected papers, we will explore different ways of positioning Atlantic Studies in relation to the Global South, and also reflect on the conditions of possibility and impossibility for the coming into being of spaces like the Global South Atlantic. We will focus on critically exploring how artists and intellectuals from the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and other Southern zones imagine the Atlantic. Of special concern is the way individuals, governments or political movements, social imaginaries, texts or other cultural artifacts, and markets do (or do not) cross the oceanic space between Africa, Latin America, and surrounding “Southern” regions; and the larger structures of knowledge and power that enable or inhibit these flows.

We invite papers that respond directly to the problem of the Global South Atlantic by focusing specifically on events, periods, and issues that establish and reconfigure relations among peoples around the South Atlantic: charter-company colonialism; the transatlantic slave trade and abolitionism; anti-colonialism and decolonization; tricontinentalism and the non-aligned movement; Cold War dictatorships, resource extraction, and human rights internationalism; indigenous movements and dirty wars; diasporas and exiled intellectuals; transitional justice and truth commissions; regional economic and security communities. In addition, we’re interested in theoretical and historical perspectives on the (South) Atlantic from the Global South. Specific questions of interest include:

• What and where is the (Global) South Atlantic? How is it possible to map it? To position ourselves in relation to it?

• In what ways have people from the “Global South” imagined and participated in creating something called “the Atlantic” or “the Atlantic world,” from the early modern period to the present? In what ways have they been excluded from this project?

• How might thinking about the South Atlantic, understood as that expanse between Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, or understood otherwise, alter current histories and theories of the Atlantic world?

• In what ways has the South Atlantic become an actually existing zone of commercial, military, scientific, intellectual, artistic or cultural navigation and exchange? What did these exchanges look like during 18th, 19th and 20th century colonialism and anti-colonialism? During the Cold War? What do they look like in our contemporary moment of neo-liberal capitalism and globalization?

• What role have discourses like those of environmental activism, human rights and humanitarianism, or national security doctrine and other forms of militarism (think of the North (and failed South) Atlantic Treaty Organization), played in shaping relations across the Atlantic?

• What kinds of “alternative solidarities” (Popescu, Tolliver and Tolliver)–those beyond ties created through the experience of slavery–have been formed across the Atlantic ocean between North and South or South and South? How are previous forms of transnational solidarity remembered or, conversely, to what ends are they forgotten?

• How does the question of the (Global) South Atlantic impact studies of slavery and the African diaspora it created?

• How might looking at something called the “South Atlantic” help us to understand the discursive formations of Oceanisms, regionalisms, area studies, hemispheric studies, postcolonialisms, and comparative literature?

One goal of the collection is to bring together scholars working in Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanic, and Lusophone literary and cultural studies, as well as researchers working in other languages–such as Arabic or indigenous languages–that are related to the (global) South Atlantic. We aim to balance contributions from these multiple linguistic areas.

Abstracts of 300 words and a short bio should be sent to both editors by September 30, 2013. Accepted authors will be notified by late October, and full drafts of accepted papers will be due by March 1, 2014. The editors plan to approach presses once the initial selection of papers has been completed.

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