Call for Submissions: Co-edited collection on contemporary Senegal and the arts.
We seek scholarly essays for an edited collection tentatively titled Fed Up: Creating a New Type of Senegal Through the Arts that focuses on the link between social change, cultural production, and the arts in contemporary Senegal. When Senegal won its independence in 1960 it was perhaps uniquely situated among its fellow African nations to quickly gain international prominence due to its first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor. He understood the need, and the means, to strengthen the political stability and global image of Senegal, especially via the arts. Throughout Senghor’s two-decades long presidency, Senegalese society enjoyed relative prosperity while rising to the fore of West African literature, art, cinema, and music.
Present-day Senegal is home to a cultural milieu that is just as vibrant as that of Senghor. There exists a burgeoning scene of young authors, artists, filmmakers, and musicians who are creating fascinating art and receiving critical acclaim in doing so. However, this is not Senghor’s Senegal. Whereas Senghor generously supported the arts and successfully channeled them to further political stability, the Senegal of the 21st century has been marked by a tension between politics and the arts. Young participants in Senegalese culture, in fact, are rethinking and reworking the relationship between politics and the arts to strike against the injustices and indifference they see as endemic to traditional Senegalese society.
Nowhere was the rise of young, politically engaged Senegalese artists more evident than during the recent reelection campaign of the country’s third president, Abdoulaye Wade. In 2011, several Senegalese journalists and hip-hop artists banded together to form the Y’En A Marre (“We’re Fed Up”) movement in response to Wade’s attempt to secure a third term, and quickly garnered the support of Senegalese youth from various walks of life. They led a campaign to register young voters for the February 2012 elections, held demonstrations against Wade, and supported his opponent, Macky Sall. Looking beyond the presidential election, and even the political system itself, participants in this collective youth movement have continued to urge their countrymen and women to become a “Nouveau Type de Sénégalais” (“A New Type of Senegalese”), to re-conceptualize what it means to be Senegalese, and thus serve as catalysts for social and political reform. However, this shifting identity is not limited to Senegalese rap and politics. Authors such as Nafissatou Dia Diouf and Fama Diagne Sène, artists such as Kan-Si, and musicians such as Thiat and Fou Malade have deviated from traditional models in order to reflect the Senegal in which they live. Meanwhile, young filmmakers and critics are beginning to rethink Senegal’s once renowned national cinema that has deteriorated in recent years due to lack of funding and a weakening of political will. In all of its forms, contemporary Senegalese art seems to be the inspiration and the means with which young Senegalese are confronting their society’s ills.
Essays accepted for this collection will engage with one or more of the following objectives: 1) to present the shifting political and social landscape in contemporary Senegal; 2) to examine the new and innovative forms of literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical expression existing in Senegal today; 3) to analyze the intersections between the political and the arts in the attempts by artistic creators to transform Senegalese culture, society, and politics. Specific essay topics may include, but are not limited to:
• Contemporary writers and novelists’ deviations from Senegalese literary history
• Visual artists’ innovations and efforts to engage with contemporary Senegalese society
• Contemporary cinematic culture in Senegal including its recent struggles and successes
• The Y’en a Marre movement
• Hip-hop’s development and current status in Senegal
• Other Senegalese musical genres and their social significance
• The relationship between politics and the arts in the 2012 presidential campaign and election
• Attempts at political and social reform under President Macky Sall
• The ramifications of Senegal’s political (in)stability for other West African countries and the evolution of Francophonie
• Interviews with Senegalese artists and social figures working to promote political and social reform within their country
Please submit a 500 word abstract in English, a CV, and a brief personal statement about your interest in this particular topic by October 15, 2012 to volume editors Molly Enz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Devin Bryson (email@example.com). If accepted, the volume will be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Tentative Volume Timeline
Deadline for abstract submissions: October 15, 2012
Notification of selected contributors: November 1, 2012
Deadline for final chapters: July 1, 2013
Deadline for revisions of final chapters: September 1, 2013
Submission of volume to publisher: October 15, 2013
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