Drawing on huge interest in the upcoming collection Spaces of Surveillance: States and Selves, which is currently in press, this new collection seeks to merge cultural explorations of surveillance with the issue of race. We wish to examine how culture produces or reproduces power relations via the surveillant technologies which have captured the cultural imagination. Through a critical reading of contemporary and historic narratives of race and surveillance, we seek to illustrate the ongoing cultural fascination with technologies of control and surveillance. The current global moment is one of extreme cultural upheaval; political populism, the ‘alt-right’ and the greatest movement of peoples since World War Two are coupled with the increasing salience of surveillant technologies and regimes. At this juncture in history, with exclusionary policies, increasing racism and growing xenophobia, the matter of race and its representation demand critical attention.
Some would argue that to discuss race is to construct it as a category, to collude in the biological myth of race. If whiteness is an ‘unmarked’ category, as some would suggest, how is surveillance complicit in the marking of race? We seek to examine how media and culture engage with surveillant technologies to represent race, to create a culture of differentiation. We are interested in all forms of surveillance; from wearable tech and health monitoring systems to wide scale population monitoring, biometrics and cybersecurity. We wish to examine all forms of cultural production which engage or have engaged with the topics of race and surveillance in culture; literature, poetry, painting, sculpture, photography, film and TV.
By examining perspectives on the issue of race and its surveillance in popular cultural products, Surveillance, Race, Culture seeks to attend to the politics of representation and the cultural encroachment of surveillance on racial identity. Considering the salience of surveillance in society, we seek to examine the manner in which race is pitted as a critical category of differentiation. We endeavor to look both backwards and forwards, elucidating a timeline of how race has been culturally understood, represented, and surveilled.
We seek original perspectives on the subject of cultural production, both historic and contemporary as well as visions of our cultural future. We are particularly interested in Western and American representations of race and the manner in which it is categorized. From Birth of a Nation (Griffith: 1915) to current divisive political rhetoric, literature, artistic and screen depictions of race and race studies, this collection wishes to explore the manner in which surveillance apparently allows us to see, categorize and measure race in cultural productions.
Topics may include (but are not limited to):
• Racial profiling and surveillance in popular culture
• Surveillance’s part in the production of the racial ‘other’
• 9/11, homeland security and racial monitoring in popular media
• Surveillance of race activists in narratives/biographies
• Screen representations of racial monitoring during migration or warfare
• Film, TV, and documentary narratives of race and surveillance
• Literature, poetry and creative narratives of race and surveillance
• Art which engages in issues of race, surveillance and profiling
• Cultural representations of the NSA’s surveillance of race
• Racialized security surveillance in popular narratives
The editors request that potential contributors send an abstract of no more than 400 words, explaining the scope of their paper, by March 10th. Please provide up to 5 keywords and use the subject line Surveillance, Race, Culture. Please also include a brief biographical note of no more than 300 words.
Contributors will be notified by March 30th. Full papers will be requested on or before July 15th.
Dr Susan Flynn, University of Arts, London. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Antonia Mackay, Oxford Brookes University Oxford. email@example.com