Registration for the 2018 South African Visual Arts Historians conference, Troubling Legacies, is officially open! The conference takes place in Stellenbosch from 4 – 6 July 2018.
About ‘Troubling Legacies’
As a (former) settler-colonial state, South Africa grapples with painful and problematic legacies. Much of this heritage is still exalted by the visual archives that surround us, such as public monuments, but more insidiously, is perpetuated by seemingly innocuous visual motifs that are circulated as commodities. With this conference, we critically address the question of heritage and legacy in the visual domain, and/or propose ways of dealing with problematic extant cultural objects and images. Rights to cultural heritage generate fervent debates across the globe, but in particular in the (former) settler colonies, where activists resist the liberal appropriation of indigenous cultural motifs and practices for symbolic, political and economic gain. Inter alia, questions arise about the possession of colonial- and apartheid-era images of indigenous and exogenous others, such as: who can claim affiliative ownership to colonial images or histories? What are the ethics around the continued use of these images/objects? For some visual art historians, a troubling legacy of whiteness also raises concerns about the issue of representation and voice. In consideration of the continued dominance of white scholars and practitioners in the field of the visual, a number of the papers collected here also engage strategy and ethics around race and representation.