Coordinators: Jessica Stites Mor (University of British Columbia), Anna Bernard (King’s College, London), and Anthony Alessandrini (City University of New York)
Transnational solidarity is envisioned as a reciprocal relationship between geographically distant actors based on shared political commitments. Given that this kind of transnational work involves great distances and language divides, the potential for miscommunication and misrepresentation is enormous. The visibility and appeal of movements like the Arab Spring uprisings, Occupy Wall Street, the indignados, Palestinian and Kurdish national struggles, and open borders activism has brought increasing public pressure on those who study and theorize this form of activism to broaden their ability to understand better what activists do and why. On the ground, the frustration of activists when facing failures within movements creates a need for rigorous attention to cultural forms and movements from multiple disciplinary perspectives.
Scholars have produced detailed typologies of solidarity, as well as historical research on the networks and practices of grassroots activists. However, this theoretical and empirical work has not significantly engaged with cultural forms of international solidarity activism, works that participate in what David Featherstone has termed the “labor of connection”; they are not “frozen snapshots” of a movement, but part of its “conduct of political activity.” This special issue (and subsequent collection of essays) is aimed at a general audience as well as an academic one. In this ongoing work, we aim to consider active and ongoing theorizations of international solidarity and promote better understandings of solidarity praxis.
Questions we hope the project will address include:
- How are relationships within transnational networks of political solidarity maintained, reshaped, and manipulated through cultural and artistic events and forms?
- How do international solidarity campaigns navigate and bridge complex intersubjectivities, such as race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and indigenous and/or post-colonial status?
- How do solidarity movement participants create spaces through cultural and artistic production within which ideas are able to be mapped?
- How are competing meanings of struggle, and the challenges and failures of solidarity, best expressed and debated through artistic, literary, and performative events in order to set new courses of action?
We anticipate that articles would examine cases across a range of geographical locations and historical junctures and in a variety of disciplines, including literature, history, anthropology, visual culture, sociology, politics, and law. We are particularly interested in activist perspectives.
If you are interested in having your work potentially included in a special journal issue, please send a 300 word abstract and 150 word bio to isarn.info [at] gmail.com by August 30, 2019. For more information on the International Solidarity Action Research Network (ISARN), visit https://isarn.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/ISARNetwork/.