Call for Book Chapters
CULTURAL ARCHIVES OF ATROCITY:
ESSAYS ON THE PROTEST TRADITION IN KENYAN CULTURE
New deadline for abstract submission: 21st August 2016
In Kenya, studies on atrocity have taken different discursive dimensions from history, political
and human rights perspectives. These perspectives are usually geared towards understanding
the manifestations, extent, political and economic implications of atrocities. In all these cases, the
question of representation is of central importance. To this end, ethnic and extra-judicial atrocities in Kenya have been widely documented, but less well known are their artistic representations. A number of creative works such as Ngugi’s A Grain of Wheat, Meja Mwangi’s Carcasse for Hounds, Muthoni Likimani’s Passbook Number F. 47927, Wanyiri Kihoro’s Never say Die, Wahome Mutahi’s Three Days on the Cross, Katama Mkangi’s Mafuta, Francis Imbuga’s Return of Mgofu, Kinyanjui Kombani’s Last Villains of Molo, David Mulwa’s Clean Hands, Wanjohi wa Makokha’s Nest of Stones, Sitawa Namwalie’s Cut Off My Tongue and Stephen Derwent Partington How To Euthanise a Cactus as well as recent films such as Phillippe Bresson’s For the love of My Son, Tosh Gitonga’s Nairobi Half-Life, and other art forms such as popular music have sought to engage with postcolonial atrocities in Kenya. This creativity reflects the memories,
creative geniuses and social identities of the artists whilst offering a mirror to their audiences
coming to terms with a collective memory that is often traumatic in itself. The seeming paradox
between creative representation and the reality of horrifying events such as ethnic violence
presents challenges in the relationship between ethics, poetics and politics. Thus, this edited
volume attempts to bring together multiple generic ways of interrogating artistic interpellations
of atrocity in Kenya. It explores how art forms question perceptions and interpretations of
atrocity, tackle such controversial and painful subjects, and how, by representing the
unrepresentable or speaking the unspeakable, the artists incessantly inspect and develop
broadening insights into understanding the cultural archives of atrocity in the Kenyan context.
1. Objectives of the book
This inter/cross-disciplinary volume investigates the representations of Atrocity in Kenyan
Literature, Film, popular music and other digitally/electronically mediated cultural art forms.
By implication, it seeks to contribute to the growing discourses and scholarship on the
understanding and aesthetics of Atrocity in Kenyan postcoloniality. A book of this nature,
therefore, will provide refreshing insights and perspectives to the study of artistic
representations of the unspeakable within the imaginaries of the imagined nations of Kenya. The
volume will serve as a critical resource for scholars undertaking interdisciplinary studies of
atrocity within the fields of ethnic studies, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, sociology, peace 2
and conflict studies, criminology, psychology, political economy and history.
2. Target audience
Researchers, academicians, graduate students, and the general public will find the book as a
good reference for further researches on the cultural archives of atrocity in the Kenyan context.
3. Recommended topics
The proposed book will cover a wide range of topics which include, but not limited to the ones
- Renditions of atrocity in Kenyan Literature, drama and Film.
- Oral literature and Atrocity: an exploration of the aesthetics of oral narratives of
confinement and confrontation such as the epics.
- Modes of representation of atrocity in Kenyan fiction, drama and film: the abject, the
mythical, the allegorical, the grotesque, the spectacular.
- The Aesthetic Representations of Atrocity in Kenyan Literature, drama and Film.
- Reading the Mau Mau narrative as a literature of atrocity.
- Language as Cultural Dynamic of Atrocity.
- Space, place and the articulation of Atrocity in Kenyan Fiction, drama and film.
- Atrocity in Children’s Literature.
- Representations of Trauma in Children’s Literature of Atrocity
- (Re)Historicizing Violence in Postcolonial Kenyan Fiction, drama and film.
- Metonymy: Displacement, Contiguity, and Postcolonial Difference in Kenyan Fiction.
- Memory, Violence, and the Narration of Violence in Kenyan fiction and film.
- Silenced Voices, Resuscitated Memory, and State Historiography as atrocity.
- Adapting the Iconography of Atrocity in Kenyan Cinema.
- Humor, Comedy, Satire, Joke-Performances and other Counter-discursivities and
Counternarratives of Atrocity.
4. Submission Guidelines
Researchers are expected to submit an abstract of 300 words which specifies the focus and
methodology of their chapter to the coordinating editors:
Dr. J. K. S. Makokha, Ph.D
Institute of African Studies
Prof. Columba K. Muriungi, Ph.D
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The book is scheduled to be published by Brill. This is the distinguished international publisher
of scholarly works based in The Netherlands. It was founded in AD 1683. Below is a sample of a
previous work that they published for us recently under their Rodopi brand.
6. Important Dates
1. Deadline for submission of abstracts – 21st August, 2016.
2. Deadline for notification of abstract evaluation decision, 30th August, 2016.
Deadline for Full Chapter Submission: 30th October, 2016
Return of review comments: 15th December, 2016
Deadline for Final Chapter Submission: 15th February 2017
Anticipated Date of Publication: August, 2017.