CFP: Critical Arts Special Issue: “Celebrity and Protest in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle

Posted on Oct 20, 2017

CFP:/Critical Arts/ Special Issue 17/11/2017; 01/05/2018

“Celebrity and Protest in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle”

Guest editors: Prof. Louise Bethlehem, The European Research Council Project APARTHEID-STOPS,
Dr. Tal Zalmanovich, The European Research Council Project


Dear Colleagues

We invite submissions to a special issue of /Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies/ focusing on the role of celebrities and celebrity culture in the anti-apartheid struggle. In contrast to the resolutely Northern or metropolitan orientation of the existing scholarship on celebrity culture and political protest, we seek to broaden the conversation both in terms of location and the range of topics. So for example, we ask how developments in mass media, travel and information technology as well as technologies of circulation intersected with celebrity engagement in the anti-apartheid struggle as a particularly intense arena of engagement.

In addition to scholarship focusing on celebrities from the entertainment industry, we invite proposals that adopt a broader perspective that sees politicians, clergymen, journalists and activists as celebrities, even if at a different level of resolution. We welcome papers that examine both celebrated figures who harnessed their star power to the cause, as well as those whose work in the struggle against apartheid turned them into celebrities.

Although the neoliberal narrative of celebrity prevalent today pivots around the achievements of singular individuals, we aim to open the discussion to more networked stories of collaboration and solidarity. This also entails a transnational dimension. We ask contributors to consider the international and transnational networks and institutions that underpin celebrity protest and solidarity. Authors are encouraged to think about African, Asian, Soviet, and non-Western celebrities and their investment in or contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle.

What can be said of the temporality of these transnational engagements? Is there room to challenge the established chronology of celebrity and humanitarian celebrity-advocacy as only becoming widespread from the 1980s onwards?

Lastly, we also solicit papers that explore the more conflicted nature of celebrity involvement: Did celebrities from the North (or elsewhere) succeed in their quest to draw attention to the social evils of apartheid or did they divert attention away from the daily acts of violence and suffering of the constituencies they sought to represent by focusing attention on themselves as individuals? Did this deflect agency from activists on the ground and silence voices from the South?

For a list of possible themes, see here. <>

We invite scholars from a variety of disciplines (history, literature, sociology, ethnography, musicology, philosophy, literature, theology, art etc.) to apply. Applicants are requested to send in an abstract of their research project (up to 1000 words) and a short CV by 17 November 2017.

Accepted papers will be submitted as a special issue to /Critical Arts/: a peer-reviewed journal. Authors should note that /Critical Arts/ is niched within the South-North-East-West nexus. Articles should be written with a global readership in mind. All proposals should be referenced in Chicago style and use UK English spelling. Full manuscripts will be between 5000 – 7000 words and must be submitted by 1 May 2018. See the submission form here <> for further details.

All submissions will be subject to a double-blind peer-review process.

*“Celebrity and Protest in Africa and in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle” Workshop*

Contributors are invited to participate in an international workshop “Celebrity and Protest in Africa and in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle” at the University of Copenhagen which will take place between 29-31 October, 2018. The workshop is a joint collaboration between The European Research Council Project APARTHEID-STOPS, “The Perception of Apartheid in Western Europe 1960-1990” Research Cluster, and the Centre of African Studies of the University of Copenhagen.

Details regarding the workshop are available here


Check out our new research blog for “Apartheid-The Global Itinerary”: ***
Professor Louise Bethlehem | Associate Professor
Department of English & Program in Cultural Studies*
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Principal Investigator |European Research Council Project “Apartheid–The Global Itinerary: South African Cultural Formations in Transnational Circulation, 1948-1990” |

Visiting Senior Fellow, School of Literature, Language and Media, University of the Witwatersrand

Download Free Featured Article  |

Copyright © 2018 - All Rights Reserved -