Call for Contributions to an Edited Volume on Subversive Mimicry in Contemporary Art and Culture

Tom Williams Announcement
Tennessee, United States
Subject Fields
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Contemporary History, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Fine Arts

Editors seek contributions to a collection of essays dedicated to mimicry and power in the “post-truth” era. The volume, tentatively titled “Walking with the Enemy: Reclaiming the Language of Power and Manipulation in the Post-Truth Era,” will examine the ways that writers, visual artists, and performers often mirror the language and performance of power in times of ideological crisis. Rather than opposing political power directly, these artists and cultural figures imitate its language, symbolism, and structures, including propaganda, ideology, stereotypes, and other mechanisms that sustain the status quo. The book offers the first in-depth comparison and theoretical analysis of subversive mimicry from a transnational perspective. It provides an account of the debates and controversies surrounding the current deployments of this strategy in art and culture at large.

Editors-in-chief: Gediminas Gasparavicius (University of Akron), Maia Toteva (Texas Tech University), Tom Williams (Belmont University)

Potential contributions could address (but should not be limited to) the following topics:

•”Overidentification” or “Subversive Affirmation” in the work of Socialist-era artists and artists groups such as the Moscow Conceptualists, NSK in Slovenia, and The Orange Alternative in Poland.

•Mimicry as activism and spectacle in contemporary politics in the work of groups such as the Yes Men or comedians (e.g., Stephen Colbert or Sacha Baron Cohen).

•The uses of mimicry in contemporary artistic practices such as parafiction, the stereotypical grotesque, and mimetic exacerbation.

•The adoption of irony and mimicry by the political right during the past decade.

•The politics of mimicry in a post-truth moment when reality and fantasy have become difficult to distinguish.

•Aesthetic and political mimicry in colonial, post-colonial, and decolonial contexts.

We welcome contributions from scholars in various disciplines, including but not limited to art history, history, political science, cultural studies, literature, and media studies. Interested contributors are invited to submit abstracts (200 words) and a CV to Gediminas Gasparavicius, Maia Toteva, and Tom Williams at ­ by June 30, 2021. Notification of acceptance will be sent out by July 31, 2021. As we plan to publish the edited volume in 2023, selected contributors are expected to submit their drafts of articles (3500-5000 words) by March 2022.

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