Call for Chapters: Book on Indigenous representation in Canada’s Media Arts

Posted by in Academix, Indigenous Art

Image above: Dana Claxton’s The Mustang Suite, image courtesy: http://alternatorcentre.com/explore_art/archives/exhibition/exhibitions_2008/edges_of_diversity/dana_claxton_the_mustang_suite/

CALL FOR CHAPTER PROPOSALS

Insiders/Outsiders: The Cultural Politics and Ethics of Indigenous Representation and Participation in Canada’s Media Arts

Edited by Ezra Winton and Dana Claxton
Abstracts due: May 31st, 2017
Submissions sent to: insidersoutsidersbook AT gmail DOT com

While the question of Indigenous authenticity (and related ethics) surrounding Joseph Boyden has captured much media attention in Canada, ongoing structural and instrumental issues and struggles around how Indigenous peoples and stories are represented, and who is doing the representing—from production through to curation—continue to play out across the country. Recent cultural flare-ups and flashpoints have drawn renewed attention to the subject of Indigenous representation and participation in Canada’s media arts milieu, raising concerns of ethics in filmmaking and curatorial practices, the cultural politics of representation in front of and behind the lens, avant-garde art practices, colonialism, racism, and more.

The editors of this collection are based in Quebec and British Columbia, where we have seen these issues come to the fore most recently. In Quebec controversy was stirred in 2016 when Montreal’s RIDM documentary festival programmed Of the North, a collage film comprised of Youtube clips mostly of Inuit, made by a settler filmmaker claiming the film amounts to “self-representation” but that has been called “poverty porn” and “trauma porn” by Inuk filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril.* In BC, the unabated re-releases of Edward Curtis’s Land of the Headhunters (1914) continues to haunt the landscape and its current re-framing as an “independent film with an all aboriginal cast” demands deeper critical analysis.

Indigenous stories and experiences continue to be told and interpolated by settler and other non-Indigenous artists and media-makers who benefit from the privileges of wider circulation and exposure. Canada is at once witnessing a surge in Indigenous media arts while the country’s cultural gatekeepers react slowly—if at all—to facilitate space for a diverse body of exciting new work, while settler representations of Indigeneity continue to open festivals, win awards, and circulate without critical context. This contentious and contested territory has a long and storied history, and this collection will seek to emphasize contemporary circumstances while also sketching a historical trajectory.

We are interested in bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics, writers and artists to explore these issues in both past and current circumstances. Chapters engaging with Indigenous representations by non-Indigenous filmmakers and media artists, chapters critically approaching Indigenous-made works and those that fall between are all welcome. Some possible topics to explore, but by no means is this a conclusive list, are:

• Films and media artworks by Indigenous makers
• Films and media artworks depicting Indigeneity by Indigenous makers
• Canadian cultural institutions
• Curatorial and programming practices and processes
• Ethics and representation
• Social movements, anti-colonialism and Indigenous representation
• Interviews and/or analysis with/of specific artists
• Colonization and Canada’s media arts
• Neo-colonialism and film/arts in Canada
• Post-coloniality and film/arts in Canada
• Artist reflections of their own work/experiences/processes
• The politics of representation/appropriation
• Filmmaking and screening ethics
• Indigenous protocol and cultural ownership

Submitting your Proposal

Chapter abstracts should be between 350 and 500 words (excluding a selective bibliography) with a suggested title, short contributor’s bio and contact information. All proposals should be sent to insidersoutsidersbook AT gmail DOT com by May 31st, 2017. If accepted, finished essays should be between 7,000 and 8,000 words, while artist reflections and interviews may be of various lengths.

About the Editors:

Ezra Winton is Assistant Professor of Film Studies (Visiting) at Concordia University, where he teaches courses on film festivals, curatorial practices and politics, Canadian cinema and Indigenous film and media. Ezra is currently at the end stages of a monograph that looks at the commercialization of documentary at film festivals called Buying In, Selling Out (to be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press), and is working on a book about the classic Alanis Obomsawin documentary Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance. He is co-editor of Challenge for Change: Activist Documentary at the National Film Board of Canada (MQUP, 2010), Screening Truth to Power: A Reader on Documentary Activism (Cinema Politica, 2014) and Documentary Film Festivals: History, Politics, Industry (forthcoming). He is also a contributing editor at POV Magazine and the co-founder and Director of Programming of Cinema Politica, the world’s largest documentary screening network. Ezra was born on Vancouver Island and is a settler scholar of Dutch, English and Scottish ancestry.

Dana Claxton is a critically acclaimed exhibiting artist, film and video maker. She works in film, video, photography, single and multi-channel video installation, and performance art. Her practice investigates beauty, the body, the socio-political and the spiritual. Her work has been shown internationally and the Vancouver Art Gallery has slated a mid career survey of her artwork for 2018. Claxton has peer-reviewed books and articles for the prestigious American Indian Culture and Research Journal (UCLA) and has presented talks at the Getty Institute (LA) and the Art College Association (USA) and the Opening Week Forum of the Biennale of Sydney (AU).

Dana held the Ruth Wynn Woodward Research Chair in the Women’s Studies Department at SFU and the Global Television Chair in the School of Journalism at the University of Regina. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory with the University of British Columbia. Dana was born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan and is a member of the Wood Mountain Lakota First Nations, located in beautiful Southwest Saskatchewan. Her paternal Euro-Canadian Grandmother taught her how to harvest and preserve food and her maternal Lakota grandmother taught her to seek justice.

* For the full interview with Arnaquq-Baril on Of the North, visit: http://artthreat.net/2015/12/alethea-arnaquq-baril/