The Archive Revisited: Black Feminist Internationalism and Eurasian Knowledge Production

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Type: 
Workshop
Date: 
May 23, 2023 to May 24, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Black History / Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Russian or Soviet History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Call for participants and contributors

 

Online Workshop

The Archive Revisited: Black Feminist Internationalism and Eurasian Knowledge Production

May 23-24, 2023

 

The Archive Revisited focuses on reimagining the legacies of Black feminist internationalism in Soviet Eurasia, i.e., East Europe and Central Asia. The workshop invites scholars, artists, and activists to submit contributions that explore these legacies for their meaning today. Black Internationalist intellectuals shared knowledge globally and formed alliances across nations and continents. For example, Louise Thompson Patterson, Claudia Jones, Eslanda Robeson, Langston Hughes, and Audre Lorde, among many others, tackled the problems of their times, forged transnational relations, and imagined alternative futures that could secure survival for everybody. However, existing archives often hold fragmented traces (if any) of Black women and queer people’s experiences in Soviet Eurasia. Even less is known about Eurasian communities’ perceptions of Black sojourners and their intellectual contributions. Likewise, the role of Eurasian knowledge production in Black internationalists' theorizing does not often come through easily in the archive and scholarship. Against these gaps and absences, workshop participants are invited to reflect on the meaning and value, including the limitations and possibilities, of past relationships, encounters, and intellectual exchanges. The workshop approaches the archive as a site of exploration and location of creative invention and critical knowledge production. It invites participants to explore and elevate perspectives muted in the archive as well as to look at the archive beyond what happened or has not happened. Participants are encouraged to read the archive for what it withholds or implies and reveal/ imagine stories suppressed or discarded by traditional historiographies. Furthermore, the Archive Revisited invites potential contributors to foreground the value of past relationships for the contemporary moment.

The workshop aims to forge a cross-border and cross-disciplinary exchange between scholars, artists, and activists from different geographies. Participants may engage with various narrative and visual forms - academic and artistic - for their contributions (e.g., essays, conversations or interviews, visual art, poetry, short stories). During the workshop, participants, grouped into panels, will present and discuss their contributions prepared in advance. The workshop will provide an opportunity for thoughtful conversation and engagement with participants’ works. After the workshop, participants’ contributions will be assembled into a digital gazette. The idea of a gazette draws inspiration from the West Indian Gazette, founded by the Black organizer and journalist Claudia Jones in 1958 to strengthen Afro-Asian and Caribbean solidarity links. The Archive Revisited digital gazette will catalogue the workshop and contribute to building contemporary anti-colonial connections across borders and differences.

There will be two keynote lectures prior to the workshop. Participants are encouraged to respond to or reflect on the keynotes in preparation for the workshop.

To participate in this online workshop, please submit a proposal: a short bio and a 200-word synopsis of your idea and its connection to the topic. Participants can apply individually or as an artistic group or collective.

Potential workshop topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The importance or influence of Black feminist internationalism on Eurasian communities.
  • The mobility of ideas across borders (e.g., travel of written works and their translations) that reveal intellectual exchanges between communities historically and in the present.
  • What constitutes the archive of Black feminist internationalism, and what place Eurasian communities and their cultural and intellectual perspectives have within that tradition.
  • The different historical circumstances that facilitated the physical and intellectual exchanges between Black sojourners and Eurasia.
  • Queer/feminist perspectives on the intellectual and political histories of Black/Eurasian exchanges and what they may bring to contemporary struggles.
  • How histories of interactions between Black and Eurasian communities may contribute to the archive of anti-colonial resistance.

Participants are welcome to make their final contributions in multiple languages if needed, but please note that the working language for the workshop is English. Scholarly papers, analytical essays, first-person reflections, and other creative submissions and expressions (poetry, spoken word, etc.) can be up to 2,500 words.

Use the following application form to submit your proposal by February 1, 2023,

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdDnqaSyOSzX7JYPBOqiuyGrJOeugdX1rgpkstRhE7ftohROA/viewform?usp=sf_link

Notification of accepted proposals will be sent no later than February 13, 2023. Workshop participants will receive small honoraria thanks to the generous support of the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme at The Ohio State University.

You can attend the workshop and participate in the discussions without preparing a contribution. To express your interest in attending the workshop, please use the following form by March 1, https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeVotspW61orPCEr-_n4S_z8lNE_0gmXwKc_XiJVe941NY8hg/viewform?usp=sf_link.

 

This workshop is organized by Tatsiana Shchurko, Ph.D. She is a queer feminist scholar and activist from Belarus and is currently a lecturer in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University. Her research explores the historical and contemporary implications of U.S. Black internationalist women's travels to Soviet Eurasia. For any questions about the workshop, please contact Tatsiana Shchurko at shchurko.1@osu.edu.  

 

This workshop will be hosted by the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies with support from Society of Fellows Small Grants by the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme at The Ohio State University.  

 

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