Body, Violence and Trauma in the folds of the Global South


In a recent article, Vladimir Safatle (2021) alerts us to the fact that the inaugural milestone of the 21st century was not 9/11, but the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, in Tunisia, in 2010. For Safatle, Bouazizi's gesture would have inaugurated a molecular revolution centred on the body, which, according to the Brazilian philosopher, is already one of the marks of our recurring century. The dossier “Body, Violence and Trauma in the folds of the Global South” takes as its motto this individual and particular episode played by the Tunisian market vendor - which would also have triggered the Arab Spring - with the aim of bringing into discussion the strategies and tactics that we have been finding to inhabit the 21st century.

Based on the triad body/violence/trauma, our suggestion is to think of this molecular revolution, which has haunted and transformed world geopolitics, as territorially located in the folds of the Global South, drawing attention to what has become visible in the fields of arts and images. Our enquiry concerns the ways in which these media and artistic practices and interventions have generated spaces of confrontation in relation to what Suely Rolnik (2019) calls the "colonial-capitalist unconscious". The suggestion to think from the "folds" of the Global South takes as its principle the idea that, as a territory, the South we are talking about is not a monolithic block. In its"x-centric" condition (Comaroff & Comaroff, 2012), the Global South is, above all, what presents itself outside the dominances and centralities of power, being, therefore, what happens in the folds, or in the territorialities, that it produces itself. A common thread that unites what we may call "south" is the expropriation and objectification of the bodies, devices that have served (and still do) the logic of the implementation of the colonialities of power. From this perspective, we want to think with Mombaça: "the black body" - and we can also consider the indigenous and/or the bodies still today invented as subaltern - "is a time machine". It retraces, tells, produces stories; it evokes narratives in which the present, the past and the future are intertwined.

From this perspective, we also admit that the colonising projects, as a form of constitutive power of modernity, have unleashed incalculable hallucinations, inseparable from the accumulation of capital which, even today, by endorsing the political and legal dispossession of bodies, stages violence. In other words, colonialism acquires its historical materiality not only through physical violence, but also through representation, language and values that dismember bodies, producing reifications. Thus, paradoxically, if we are talking about the violence that devastates signs, ideas and images, we are also talking about the powers and the production of subjectivities that bring to the surface other orders that redistribute violence (Mombaça, 2016). Trauma, another of the components that make up the triad suggested in this dossier, thus appears as an effect of colonialism which, according to Grada Kilomba (2019), is an "open wound". This aspect reinforces the focus of the dossier on the centrality of the experiences of the present, as it is in the nowaday-experiences that trauma, in its physical forms, is also constructed, through visualities and language gestures that, in different ways, oppose the pains of living the contemporary.

Thus, this dossier seeks to understand the political economy of violence and trauma in the contemporary world as a corporeal language, re-signified in and through artistic practices and media-communicational visualities, which act as ways to (cor)respond to the colonial-capitalist structural complex that produces ways of being in the territorialities of the (global) south. We are interested, therefore, in receiving bibliographical and non-bibliographical, essayistic and/or visual contributions that interrogate communication and art in their power to stage and disturb the violence of the juridical-political apparatus of the modern-colonial western state, taking into account its genesis in the history of plundering and genocide that structure it

In view of the transdisciplinary approaches, this dossier encompasses the fields of communication and the arts in their various languages: media, literature, film, visual arts, performing arts, among others. We invite and encourage analytical visions, theoretical reflections and transdisciplinary methodological proposals based on the axes listed below (but not only):
1) Territorial confrontations: power relations and modes of being in the territories of the (Global)
2) Race, gender, sexuality: intersectionalities, devices and counter-devices
3) Decolonial critical perspectives: thinking the South from the media
4) The Body as a Territory of Power: Geographies and Territorialities of the (Global) South
5) Media and artistic practices and representations of the (Global) South
6) Image of violence and violence of the image
7) Negotiations between opacity and transparency in art and media practices
8) Trauma, memory and visual culture: archives and repertoires
9) Abolitionist Thought, Racial Capitalism and the Persistence of Value
10) Affective turn, post-humanist turn: clues to stanching the colonial unconscious

Deadline: November 1st.

Guests editors: 

Fernando Resende (UFF)
Michelle Sales (UFRJ e PPG Multimeios Unicamp)
Pablo Costa (UFC)
Gaia Giuliani (CES, Universidade de Coimbra)