CfP The Borders of Art: Migration, Mobility, and Artistic Practice 1 July 2021

The Borders of Art: Migration, Mobility, and Artistic Practice
Edited by Dina A Ramadan and Sarah Rogers
The 21st century has witnessed an undeniable and widespread prevalence of the refugee, the migrant, the stateless, and the politically displaced—categories produced by global capitalism’s uneven distribution of resources. Together, with the continued violence against communities of color worldwide, this contemporary existence signals the State’s persistent investment in border policing despite claims of a globalized landscape.
Against such harsh realities, art is often posited as transcending sociopolitical barriers. Similar to capital, art moves across physical geographies without requiring a visa. And perhaps more importantly in this framework, art moves across deep psychological divides as well. Curators and scholars often champion the role of art in generating empathy, or, what anthropologist Jessica Winegar has theorized in post 9-11 exhibitions focusing on Islamic or Middle Eastern art as “the humanity game.” In other words, art is configured as a creative alternative to faceless statistics and media representations that are geographically removed. In response to the displacement of millions in recent decades—a result of war, climate change, economic hardship, and identity-based violence—artists have actively engaged with representations of the dispossessed. Museums too, have turned their focus to this contemporary reality, welcoming refugees and migrants into their spaces as part of broader initiatives and programs centered on integration. Meanwhile, calls to decolonize and globalize western cultural institutions have been gaining traction.
This volume seeks to interrogate celebratory assumptions surrounding the role of art and its institutions in generating mobility and promoting political equity and social justice. Instead, we ask how critical studies of individual art works, exhibitions, artistic discourse, and curatorial and institutional practices further our understanding of the intersections between racism, migration, and the continued neoliberal border structures.
In what ways do art institutions contribute to the construction of precarious and marginalized subject positions and perpetuate the radical divide between the mobility of commodities and the immobility of human beings?
We invite contributions from academics, artists, and activists that seek to make connections between art practices, (im)mobility, and migration. Possible topics include:
· Art programming and refugee integration
· The refugee as curatorial strategy
· The limitations of museum responses to the so-called “migrant crisis”
· Art activism inside and outside of the museum
· Attempts to decolonize art institutions
· Migration and art repatriation
· Boycott, divestment, and art institutions
Proposals may include:
– Essays (7,000 words)
– Artistic interventions/reflections (3500-4000 words)
– Conversations (3500-4000 words)
Abstracts (400-500 words) are due July 1st 2021. Please include a short bio for each contributor. Selected contributors will be notified by August 1st 2021. Submissions will be due on December 1st 2022. Send abstracts and questions to
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