Calls for Contributors

Call for Contributors: Political Art: The Movement(s) of Protest

TAHR seeks essays that explore the role of socially-engaged art (including visual arts, music, dance, ritual, digital arts etc.) in protest movements and other forms of grassroots direct action

The Activist History Review invites proposals for our January 2020 issue “Political Art: The Movement(s) of Protest.” 

Art historians like Nicholas Bourriad, Suzanne Lacy, and, later, Grant Kester, Claire Bishop, and Pablo Helguera became interested in a new art movement that moved away from physical aesthetic objects and centered on collective authorship, community outreach, and relational pieces. This often collaborative and socially/politically motivated contemporary art movement became known as ‘socially-engaged art.’ Recently, the disciplines of critical dance studies and drama/theater studies have also become interested in the political as the aesthetic. Scholars, artists, and activists like Thoma DeFrantz, Rodney Diverlus, Susan Leigh Foster, Susanne Foellmer, and Andre Lepecki have used the terms political choreography, choreopolicing, and politichoreography to explore the politics of choreography and the aesthetic aspects of the political.  

Activist and choreographer Kendall Loyer (left) dances with Olana Z. Flynn (right). Photo by Preethi Ramaprasad.

TAHR seeks essays that explore the role of socially-engaged art (including visual arts, music, dance, ritual, digital arts etc.) in protest movements and other forms of grassroots direct action, as well as invite the contemplation of protests themselves as a form of aesthetics. This issue builds on the relational aesthetics, dialogic art, socially engaged art, and new genre public art from the 90s and early 2000s as well as the contemporary art history theories of choreopolitics, politichoreography, and choreopolicing.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  1. How can political assembly as a form of choreopolitics help reframe the social movements of marginalized communities?
  2. How do art, space, and politics interact in grassroots organizing?
  3. Why does understanding political organizing as inherently aesthetic/a performance add to/challenge social mobilization theories/performance and dance studies?
  4. What can be understood by exploring bodies organizing in public space as not only political objects, but aesthetic objects? 
  5. How can creating space through choreopolitics challenge the carceral state/panopticon and create a dialogue between activist actors and the State?
  6. How can participatory art theories be used to understand protest, social movements, and political actors as also aesthetic objects and artists?
  7. How does choreopolicing affect protests in (public) space?
  8. What do queer theory, crip theory, and queer of color critique offer to these discussions? 
  9. How does re-visiting past protest movements with the frame of choreopolitical theory affect the way we perceive them?
  10. What do artistic movements like Constructivists, the Dada-ists, Situationist International, and the 1960s art workers movements, etc. offer to our contemporary political world? 
  11. How do art-into-life pieces, such as occupational realism, subvert capitalist hegemony and normative understandings of what ‘art’ is? 

Proposals should be no more than 250 words for articles from 1250-2000 words, and should be emailed to by December 15th at 11:59 PM. Please also include a short bio of no more than 100 words.

** We will be offering a small stipend to contributors who are queer and/or trans Black Brown Indigenous People of Color (QTBBIPOC). Please indicate if you identify as such in your email. **

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