CFP: Journal of African Cinemas – Special Issue

Theme: “Everyday Violence(s) and Visualities in Africa”
Special Issue, Journal of African Cinemas

Due Date for Abstracts:  1 October 2012
Submission of Full Paper:  1 April 2013

That we live in what continues to be an unforgiving, violent world is a truism. After all, the news channels are awash with minute-by-minute retellings and images of violent stories from around the world.

To say that we are all somehow implicated in the everyday commission of violence, however, seems counter-intuitive. We often tend to subjectively think of violence as that despicable and abnormal something that only the bad guys out there do – thugs, nut-cases, rapists, wife-beaters, genocidaires, terrorists, suicide bombers, anarchists, right-wing goons, football hooligans, gangsters, rioters, psychos and sociopaths etc.  Despite the fact that violence may attend many daily forms of life, we consistently overlook violence that is endemic to our socio-economic order, subjectively blind to the objective violence of the world where we are perpetrators and participants instead of just innocent bystanders. A. Zizekian interrogation of the notion of violence however encourages us to consider objective (symbolic and systemic) violence – the fact that violence is all round us, often invisible to the naked eye, but always implicating us. We are encouraged, in place of the comfort of
self-righteous indignation and outrage at the ‘mad’ outbursts-out-of-nowhere violence that exists out there, to be more honest about our role in everyday practices that sustain (finer, less visible) violences and cultures of violence closer to home.

Where students of neurobiology turn to ‘recent’ molecular genetic studies
of ‘neurotransmitter regulation’ to provide new insights into the pathophysiology of violent behavior, seeing violence as involving complex interactions between genes, prenatal and perinatal environmental factors – and violent behavior as heterogeneous i.e. impulsive and premeditated violent acts differ in their origins, mechanisms, and management – the UNESCO-sponsored Seville Statement on violence rejects any and all
‘pseudoscientific’ suggestions that violence is genetic. Some, ironically, even see the scale and magnitude of violence across centuries as declining. On the other hand, Walter Benjamin’s ‘Critique on Violence’ sees violence as matter of different interpretations of law.

On the African continent different and important forms of violence surrounded and still surround us, many of them built into and sustained by
the fabric of the everyday – colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid,
genocide, xenophobia, violent crime, military violence, police violence,
impunity, vigilantism, torture, ethnic ‘cleansing’, sexual violence, domestic abuse, corporate violence, slavery and different forms of psychological violence, among many others that go by different names. Some scholars even see violence as a public health issue, while others see poverty as a specific form of violence. A Fanonian critique of violence would allow us also to include the violence of decolonisation, revolution and liberation. These violences are neither things of the past nor things that only abnormal people do. Rather, they are all round us – indeed, they are us – and perhaps we can see their daily, and quite ordinary, movement if we look hard enough at the fragments scattered about in our surroundings.

A peer-reviewed Special Issue that reflects on the portrayal and representation of violence(s) in Africa via the medium of film is envisaged through the Journal of African Cinemas. We invite papers and reviews on the representation of violence (symbolic, systemic, graphic etc.) in African film. That is, we encourage papers that go beyond the clichés of who causes and receives violence and what its visible and perceptible modes of expression supposedly are, to critical and nuanced appreciation of how violence is often social, structural and historical, and perhaps much more ‘everyday’ and permanent in its effects, rather than just an ungraspable and unspeakable – and accidental and occasional – ‘moment-of-madness’ phenomenon implicating ‘them’ instead of ‘us’. Key is the realisation that strategies for dealing effectively with violence on the continent may require, among other things, critical appreciation of our role and place in the ‘everydayness’ of violence, that violence may either be open or masked, that people use violence for all sorts of purposes, and that violence is at the heart of many contemporary traumas (and/or liberations and revolutions) and takes many forms.

We assume that, compared to words and other linguistic signs, visual media
have arguably more success representing violence, its beginnings,
durations and its aftermaths. For instance, genocide is often described as
being unspeakable and nearly untranslatable into words. We are interested
in opening up critical conversation into the ways in which African film
and films about Africa engage visually with the systemic, symbolic and
graphic nature of violence.

We are interested in, though not limited to, original papers that address
how filmmakers express, explain, and dramatise any or a combination of the
following twenty-three themes and sub-themes:

1.      Violence as a trope/violent aesthetics/aesthetics of
violence/semiotic(s) of violence
2.      Power and violence
3.      Genocide and atrocity in Africa (colonial and postcolonial)
4.      Xenophobia
5.      Violent crime/criminal violence
6.      Colonial violence
7.      Liberation/decolonising/revolutionary violence
8.      Violence of War and civil war
9.      Apartheid violence
10.  Military violence
11.  Violence and impunity
12.  Police violence
13.  Political violence
14.  Gender violence
15.  Vigilantism
16.  Torture
17.  Corporate violence/white-collar violence/financial violence
18.  Poverty, hunger, want, famine
19.  Traumas of Disease/HIV and AIDS
20.  Domestic abuse
21.  Sexual violence
22.  Different forms of psychological violence and traumas.
23.  Other violences

Please submit Abstracts of not more than 300 words to Guest Editors:

Prof. Maurice T. Vambe,
English Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Dr. Nyasha Mboti ,
Centre for Communication Media and Society, University of KwaZulu Natal,

Due Date for Abstracts:  1 October 2012

Submission of Full Paper:  1 April 2013

The Journal of African Cinemas (ISSN: 17549221, Online ISSN: 1754923X) is
a peer-reviewed, accredited journal published by Intellect.
Website link:,id=158/

Categories: Calls for & opportunities

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

join the discussion:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: