Call for papers – Revisiting the ethnographic turn in contemporary art (Critical Arts : South-North Cultural and Media Studies)

Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies

Call for papers for a themed issue on

Revisiting the ethnographic turn in contemporary art

To be published December 2013

Guest editors: An van. Dienderen – Kris Rutten – Ronald Soetaert

Editorial consultant: Leora Farber

Critical Arts prides itself in publishing original, readable, and theoretically cutting edge articles. For more information on the history and the orientation of the journal, as well as guidelines for authors, and legal and editorial procedures, please visit :

Critical Arts is now published five times annually (moving to six from 2013) and has been accepted for coverage in the Social Sciences Citation Index and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (ISI – Thompson- Reuters) and other indexes.


Hal Foster introduced the concept ‘The ethnographic turn of contemporary art’ in a seminal article entitled: The Artist as Ethnographer? (Foster 1995). Since the 90s an increasing wave of challenging art events occurred that shows significant similarities with anthropology and ethnography in its theorisations of cultural difference and representational practices. In this theme issue, we aim to revisit the ethnographic turn in contemporary art by focusing on practice-led research. We invite papers from theorists, artists and critics to engage critically with the ethnographic perspective in their work. Next to full research papers we also invite short statements and reflections by artists about their practice.

In the issue, we approach ethnography from a thematic and/or methodological perspective rather than looking for fixed categories for defining ‘ethnographic art’. Our aim is to further the critical work on ethnography in relation to contemporary art by specifically looking at authorship in art practices and processes, thereby offering a bottom-up perspective from artists, critics and theorists addressing the question if, why and how an ethnographic perspective is indeed at work. In these practices we are equally interested in to what extent contextualisation is relevant when dealing with the display of alterity and outsiderness. We are specifically interested in papers dealing with southern-based art practices and/or representations of self and other in relation to the north-south nexus.

Submission guidelines

Deadline for abstracts: Please send your abstracts to by August 31st 2012.

Deadline for article submission: Please send your papers to by December 31st 2012.

Information and instructions for authors:

So Why Publish in Critical Arts?

Critical Arts has niched itself in terms of conceptual freshness, textured writing, and experiential analysis which draws readers into its articles, its narrative themes and its theoretical explorations. Articles published in Critical Arts are universal in reach while retaining a particularity of context, specificity of content and relevance of topic. We invite articles which have the potential to influence the ways in which disciplines represented by cultural and media studies think about themselves in terms of critical dialogues generated within the South-North relationship, with special reference to Africa. How do people, institutions and constituencies cope within, resist and engage this relational nexus?

*  *  *

Journals come and go. Some stay the course. Critical Arts is one such journal. It has been published since 1980. The journal was started by a young academic novice, providing publishing opportunities for scholar-activists who did not fit the mould. Our board has matured with the journal and young bloods have replaced those who have retired. Our editorial board reflects an age, gender, ethnic, international and geographic mix, much as is found in the pages of the journal.

As editor since 1980, and as an author, I am aware of the challenges that face youngsters in getting published. New, and indeed seasoned, authors are sometimes bewildered at the way that they are sometimes treated by reviewers, editors and editorial assistants, on the assessment of articles, special issues and proposals. Young authors are faced with:

  • Single-sentence dismissals of their work as being “too wordy, too long; obviously drawn from a PhD thesis.” Thus, in one sentence, many years of intensive study are disregarded, without recommendations – or even the opportunity – for revision.
  • Criticism rather than critique. This is sometimes disrespectful of the author’s work, affecting their sense of self-esteem and confidence.
  • Failure on the part of editors and reviewers to offer clear recommendations for revision.
  • Failure to remain in contact with authors as to the status of their papers.
  • A feeling of alienation when unsuccessful, thinking of themselves as interlopers, as cogs in someone else’s machine. It takes an act of will to try again.

So, how does Critical Arts conduct itself?

  • We work with our authors if a paper is deemed publishable, but requires revision.
  • Our editors and reviewers engage arguments, rather than applying an instrumentalist check list evaluation that forgets what the author is attempting to do. Our reviewers act as readers, they are not just evaluators.
  • We like to build long-term relationships with our authors.
  • We understand that young authors need to build their careers, and we hope that their relationship with Critical Arts will be beneficial in this regard.
  • Critical Arts takes risks. Editors will sometimes over-ride negative reviews if it is thought that the article in question will create debate and feed into ongoing dialogue, thus opening up topics for discussion.

So, if you are an author, what can you further expect from Critical Arts?

  • Acknowledgement of your submission and correspondence within 48 hours of receipt.
  • To be treated with respect whether you are a new author or an internationally known guru.
  • Recognition that not every submission will be accepted; authors will have engaged in a learning experience via the evaluation process that may be arduous and challenging, but rewarding.
  • If your article is accepted, you will join an illustrious complement of authors amongst whom are included two Nobel Laureates (who wrote for us when they were much younger), luminaries in the field of cultural and media studies, and emergent authors who will one day replace these. Your reputation will grow by association.

What we expect from authors:

  • To follow the Guide for Authors when submitting.
  • To have perused some Critical Arts back copies to ensure that we are the appropriate journal for the particular submission, that you have researched the topic thoroughly, and that you have familiarised yourself with previous issues if such a topical thread exists.
  • To engage in a rigorous learning process.
  • We expect to be treated with respect and for authors to respect the time taken to secure reviews and our production schedule.
  • Authors should remain in touch with our editorial office.

Where Critical Arts is Indexed:

  • Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) [ISI ranked]
  • Arts and Humanities Citation Index
  • Alternative Press Index
  • ARTBibliographies Modern
  • British Humanities Index
  • Film Literature Index
  • Humanities International Index
  • Index to South African Periodicals
  • International Bibliography of Social Sciences
  • International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance
  • Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts
  • M L A International Bibliography
  • Periodicals Index Online
  • R I L M Abstracts of Music Literatur

Journée d'étude: Le son et la bande dessinée (7 juin)

Jeudi 7 juin 2012, Angoulême

Journée d’étude

Le son et la bande dessinée

Jeudi 7 juin 2012, Angoulême

Quand la bande dessinée fait plus que du bruit, elle se mêle de son et de musique. Comment la musique s’exprime-t-elle dans la bande dessinée ? Peut-on représenter le son dans une planche ? La représentation de la bande dessinée est-elle possible à la radio ? Et sur les disques ? Comment les auteurs transcrivent-ils leur passion pour la musique dans leurs albums ?

Une journée organisée par les étudiants du Master BD Université de Poitiers-École Européenne Supérieure de l’Image, en partenariat avec la Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l’image.

Programme :

Jeudi 7 juin 2012, auditorium du musée de la bande dessinée 121 rue de Bordeaux, Angoulême.

10h: Jean-Charles Vincent (étudiant du Master BD): « Adaptation du rock en bande dessinée, l’exemple hendrixien »

10h30: Nadine Chirol (étudiante du Master BD): « Dessiner la musique: discordance et harmonie »

11h: Pause café

11h15: Table ronde avec Nine Antico (Tonight), Hervé Bourhis (Le petit livre des Beatles) et David Prudhomme (Rebetiko), animée par Isabelle Delorme et Jean-Charles Vincent (Étudiants du Master BD) : « L’ombre portée de la musique »

12h30 : Pause déjeuner

14h: Thierry Smolderen (essayiste et scénariste en bande dessinée, professeur à l’EESI) : « Sonogrammes : Comment les dessinateurs humoristiques déconstruisent les paramètres (énonciatifs, psychologiques, technologiques et sociaux) du son »

14h30: Christian Rosset (compositeur, producteur à France Culture, écrivain et critique de bandes dessinées) : « La bande dessinée à la radio ou les métamorphoses du silence »

15h: Pause café

15h15: Gabriel Gaudette (doctorant à l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)) : « Quelques considérations autour de la représentation du son en bande dessinée »

15h45: Christian Marmonnier (Auteur d’ouvrages sur la bande dessinée, président du festival Bulles Zik ) : « La bande dessinée sur disques »

16h30 : Discussion

17h: fin de la journée d’études

Jeudi 7 juin 2012, aux Ateliers Magelis, 1 rue de Saintes, 16000 Angoulême, entrée libre.

19h: Concert « BD live » : Hervé Bourhis et David Prudhomme dessineront sur des thèmes bluesy, aux accords variant entre le rock et le jazz, dans une ambiance propice à développer le fil narratif propre à la mythologie du « Crossroads ». Sur scène, on retrouvera Troub’s à la basse (également auteur chez Futuropolis, Rakham…), Simon Fernie à la batterie, Lionel au saxophone et Charli à la guitare.

20h/20h30: dégustation au bar de la Cité

Une journée organisée par les étudiants du Master BD Université de Poitiers-École Européenne Supérieure de l’Image, en partenariat avec la Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l’image.