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CfP: Renegotiating Minoritarian In_Visibilities

Renegotiating Minoritarian In_Visibilities

Interdisciplinary Conference, November 12-14, 2019

In recent years, the relation between visibility and invisibility of minoritarian subject positions has been renegotiated and led to a preliminary re-assessment of the political potential of the concept of visibility. Thereby, invisibility or imperceptibility are subject to significant revaluation. Especially from activist, cultural and political points of view and in the contexts of queer or non-racist politics of migration, attempts have been made to question the topos of visibility and its positive connotations. However, the debate about a possible end of the critique of representation often disregards that politics of becoming imperceptible or invisible can indeed develop new modes of presentation and perception and therefore cannot unfold beyond representation.

In an attempt to distance the renegotiation of minoritarian in_visibilities from post-representational arguments, this conference approaches visibility and invisibility as two mutually entangled and interdependent concepts. By using the underscore in the orthography (in_visibility), we want to highlight two approaches to these terms: On the one hand, the underscore indicates the processual continuum between the two concepts. On the other hand, we want to approach the conceptual gap between visibility and invisibility as a discursive space for the negotiation of ambiguity, vagueness and indeterminacy. The use of the term “minoritarian”, moreover, points towards context-specific processes and situations of structural discrimination due to categories of difference, thus, it highlights the process of becoming-minoritarian. However, without reducing subjects to this position, we ask how a seemingly minoritarian status can be transformed into political agency. Accordingly, our research interests focus on strategies of becoming in_visibile from a minoritarian point of view. The conference will investigate how minoritarian strategies in art and visual culture can undermine hegemonic regimes of representation and challenge the dominant patterns of visibility, assimilation and intelligibility. Recent political developments, be they the worldwide growth of repressive regimes or the neoliberal ideology of the so-called ‘Global North’, together with their accentuation of representation and enforced identity politics, underline the topicality and urgency of this approach.

Following a power-analytical as well as a critical stance toward domination and ideology, the conference will explore the connections between strategies of becoming in_visible in art and visual culture and their potential for developing individual or collective political agencies. The relations between implicit (closed, camouflaged, invisible, etc.) and explicit (blunt, open, visible, etc.) strategies of becoming in_visible and their specific, context-dependent potential for political agency shall be investigated in detailed analyses of case studies.

The societal relevance of this conference is grounded in its investigation of aesthetic strategies that counteract processes of discrimination and stereotyping due to gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, age and further categories of difference. Considering close connections between academia, art critique/practice and activism, we want to examine the social productivity of images and develop new conceptual approaches for the comprehension of politics and emancipation in art and visual culture.

Abstracts for contributions should not exceed 400 words and should be accompanied by a brief curriculum vitae of maximum three pages.

Please send your proposals to in-visibility[at]

Deadline for submission is April 10, 2019.

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