*Updated* Rise Up, Take a Knee: Popular Culture and Protest in Decolonizing Societies.

Louise Boyne's picture
Call for Papers
April 9, 2019 to April 19, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Black History / Studies, European History / Studies, French History / Studies, Humanities, Popular Culture Studies

Sports, music, and film generate engagement, passion, and enjoyment. Yet scholars and fans alike have sometimes seen them as ‘pure’ entertainment existing alongside or even outside of politics. This workshop will explore what happens when figures and pop culture products challenge attempts to ‘keep politics out’ of sports, music, and popular entertainment. 


The workshop seeks to build upon work done by artists, sportspeople, filmmakers, and academics that shows how entertainment and racial exclusion are linked. We call for papers that examine the connections between popular culture, race-making, empire and politics. Often colonial subjects or racially marked citizens have been allowed/expected to excel in sports, music, and performance. But that acceptance has been conditional.

We invite explorations of what happens when challenges to racism and colonialism emerge from pop culture. What happens if the actions and artistry of figures like Colin Kaepernick, Thierry Henry, Beyoncé, Typhoon, or Lin-Manuel Miranda generate political engagement on a mass scale? Do institutions and social mechanisms change as a result? Are there legal or political changes that follow? Or is protest co-opted, neutralized and commercialized? What is the role of media and social media? How might our understanding of decolonization, decoloniality, and resistance change when we ask such questions?


This workshop is interdisciplinary and is open to practitioners, institutional representatives, scholars, activists and graduate students. We intend to provide a small number of partial travel grants (with special attention to artists, PhD students, and independent researchers) to facilitate attendance for those presenting. If you would like to receive this support, please indicate whether you have access to other funding to attend the conference, and an itemized list of what your estimated total cost of travel and accommodations might be.


The workshop is sponsored by the UU History Department and UGlobe Decolonization group. Workshop participants from the Benelux countries are cordially invited to join us for a brainstorming session on day 2 of the workshop. We will discuss the possibility of developing a research network, knowledge consortium, and series of events for studies of (continued/post-) colonialism, empire, and the aftermath of empire (decolon-ization /iality). See our website for more information: https://decolonisationgroup.wordpress.com/


For any further information please don't hesitate to contact myself as administrative support for the project on l.r.boyne@students.uu.nl or Rachel Gillett on r.a.gillett@uu.nl.

Contact Info: 

Please send a short (150-250 word) proposal and short bio/CV (no more than a page) to r.a.gillett@uu.nl

Deadline For Papers: April 19th 2019

Workshop Date: 27th & 28th June 2019

Contact Email: