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Art and decoloniality (practice, theory, paradigm)

Art et dé-colonialité (pratique, théorie, paradigme)

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Published on Tuesday, February 15, 2022


This international symposium, « Art and decoloniality (practices, theory, paradigm) », far from the controversies that often stand in the way of a real scientific debate, proposes to analyze the effects of the phenomenon of « decolonization » both within sciences of art, and within artistic practices. The intention is to assess the possible epistemological and methodological repercussions, as well as the possible changes of objects of study and artistic approaches that this “question of the decolonial” may have given rise to.


The research team ADS (Art/Design/Scenography – research laboratory of MICA – EA 4426), AMERIBER (Latin America, Iberian countries – EA3656) and CLIMAS (Cultures and literatures of the English-speaking worlds – EA 4196) of Bordeaux Montaigne University are organizing an International Symposium on Wednesday 26th, Thursday 27th and Friday 28th October 2022, at Bordeaux Montaigne University, France.


The question of a “decolonization of knowledge”, inspired in large part by cultural and postcolonial studies, permeates today across all university fields. The Decolonization studies have acquired a wide audience in Anglo-Saxon universities.

If this current of thought, whose precise contours are impossible to determine, proposes, in particular, to link the decolonization of knowledge to social and political actions on the ground, its most relevant contribution lies in the continuation of the reflection on “deconstruction” (a key term within postcolonial studies). It is indeed a question, not of « destroying », but of dismantling the presuppositions from which ideas, concepts and practices were able to build themselves in order to give them a new meaning and finally make visible their harmful and their stigmatizing effects.

In addition, following the example of postcolonial studies, many activist organisations, qualified for some as “radicals”, embraces the discourse of decolonial studies (Nicolas Bancel, 2019).

In France, this question weighs on many political, epistemological, institutional and disciplinary debates, with their passions and their polemics1. These debates have repercussions in the field of theorical reflection on art and culture, as well as on the practice of the arts. Artists, art historians, museum curators, and exhibition curators now explicitly refer to the theoretical field of the postcolonial and decolonial.

Within contemporary production (constructed as “oppositional” or even “activist”) artistic practices denounce a series of oppressions and alienations considered to be intrinsically linked to one another: the critique of global neoliberal capitalism and of major ecological disasters – the denunciation of wars, of commercial conflicts and technological cyber perils – the rejection of totalitarianism, nationalism and religious fundamentalism – the defence of the rights of minorities and immigrant populations – an adhesion to feminist, anti-racist and LGBT struggles. All of this constitutes the framework for so-called “reactive” artistic productions (Christine Macel, 2020) within which postcolonial and decolonial struggles find their place.

This international symposium, « Art and decoloniality (practices, theory, paradigm) », far from the controversies that often stand in the way of a real scientific debate, proposes to analyze the effects of the phenomenon of « decolonization » both within sciences of art, and within artistic practices. The intention is to assess the possible epistemological and methodological repercussions, as well as the possible changes of objects of study and artistic approaches that this “question of the decolonial” may have given rise to.

This symposium therefore proposes to study artistic productions, characteristics of this movement, and the intellectual proposals that accompany them and aim to transcend the conditions of oppression of yesteryear, to remove the remaining stigmata and discard a « cultural intimacy and epistemic with the former coloniser” (Enrique Dussel, 2000).

The organizing team of this symposium intends to bring together researchers from diverse disciplines in order to reflect together on the various forms and conceptions of the contributions of decolonialism in the arts (thus strengthening and expanding our partnerships with foreign and French researchers).

A non-exclusive and non-exhaustive list of questions presented here in a non-exhaustive way, can serve as a common thread in the preparation of this colloquium:

  • Does the “decolonial” mean a break with the “postcolonial” or not?
  • Under what guises does “the coloniality of the matrix of power” (Anibal Quijano, Ramon Grosfoguel, Santiago Castro-Gomez, 2007 and Walter Mignolo, 2011), having resisted postcolonial independence movements and criticism, continues to manifest itself in the practices of the arts, in the institutions of the art world and in their theoretical approaches?
  • What are the contemporary legacies of a “colonial period”, still in progress and still in the process of being constantly grasped and recaptured by different actors from the political world and the world of art?
  • Can the combative dimension of decoloniality also be creative in the field of the arts?
  • Does the impact of the postcolonial and the decolonial in the sphere of the arts contribute to the construction of a “radical ethical critique”?
  • Can we perceive, within artistic manifestations and their theoretical substrates, the impact of the postcolonial and the decolonial in the emergence of an art aimed at a specific community?


[1] The holding of a « non-white only » workshop by a teachers’ union (Le monde, 21-11-2017), the positions taken by the organisation Indigènes de la République, the dissolution of the Ligue de défense noire africaine (Le Monde, 29-09-2021) as well as the advent of decolonial feminism (Françoise Vergès, 2019) – criticizing the Eurocentrism of the « historical feminist movement » which would have tended to take up the clichés of the colonial period on immif-grant, non-European societies – are symptomatic examples of this.

Submission guidelines

Communication proposals, written in English or French, must include:

  • The name and email (s) of the author (s),
  • The institutional affiliations of the author or authors,
  • A short presentation of the author or authors, 200 words maximum,
  • The title,
  • An abstract of 500 words maximum,
  • A list of 5 keywords, – An essential bibliography,
  • The written and signed commitment to pay the registration fee of 20 euros, in case the proposal is accepted.

Proposals should be sent in pdf format before the 1st April 2022 to:

  • Nicolas Nercam (nicolas.nercam@u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr)
  • Martine Bovo (martine.bovo@u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr)
  • Mathilde Bertrand (mathilde.bertrand@u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr)

The communication proposals will be examined and selected by the scientific committee of the symposium.

The 20 minutes talks will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion. They will be held in French or English. No interpreting or translation services can be provided. (The accommodation and transport costs will be borne by the participants)

Scientific Committee

  • Yashadatta Alone (JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY, New Delhi)
  • Nicolas Bautès (ESO-Caen-CEIAS)
  • Mathilde Bertrand (CLIMAS)
  • Myriam Odile Blin (ADS-MICA)
  • Martine Bovo (AMERIBER)
  • Cécile Croce (ADS-MICA)
  • Christine Ithurbide (CNRS-PASSAGES-CEIAS)
  • Bernard Lafargue (ADS-MICA)
  • Nicolas Nercam (ADS-MICA-CEIAS)
  • Gregory Sholette (artist, art critic, Queens College New York)

Organising Committee

  • Nicolas Nercam (ADS-MICA-CEIAS)
  • Martine Bovo (AMERIBER-UBM)
  • Mathilde Bertrand (CLIMAS)
  • Augustin Komlavi Noukafou (MSC-MICA)

Bibliographie sommaire


Jean-Loup AMSELLE,L'Occident décroché, Stock, Paris, 2008.Rétrovolutions. Essais sur les primitivismes contemporains, coll. Un ordre d’idées,Stock, Paris, 2010.

Pier BÄCKSRÖM et Benedict HJARTARSON, Decentring the Avant-Garde, Rodopi,Amsterdam, 2014.

David A. BAILEY, Ian BAUCOM et Sonia BOYCE (sous la direction), Shades of Black.Assembling Black Arts in 1980s Britain, INIVA-Aavaa, Durham, 2005.

Nicolas BANCEL, Le postcolonialisme, Coll. Que sais-je ? PUF, Paris, 2019.

Jean-François BAYART, Les études postcoloniales, un carnaval académique, coll.Disruption, Karthala, Paris, 2010.

Dominique BERTHET (sous la direction),Vers une esthétique du métissage, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2002. L'émergence d'une autre modernité, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2002.

Pascal BLANCHARD et Nicolas BANCEL, Culture post-coloniale, 1961-2006, traces et mémoires coloniales en France, coll. Mémoires/Histoire, Autrement, Paris, 2005.

Myriam-Odile BRIN et Saliou NDOUR (sous la direction), Musées et restitutions : Place dela concorde et lieux de la discorde, PURH, Mont-Saint-Aignan, 2021

Charlotte BYDLER, The Global Artworld, inc. On the Globalisation of Contemporary Art,Uppsala Universitet, 2004.

Santiago CASTRO-GOMEZ et Ramon GROSFOGUEL, El giro decolonial. Reflexionespara una diversidad epistemica, mas alla del capitalismo global, IESCO-UC, Bogota, 2007.

Emmanuelle CHEREL et Fabienne DUMONT, L’histoire n’est pas donnée. Artcontemporain et postcolonialité en France, PUR, 2016.

Chris CRASS, Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, andMovement-Building Strategy, PM Press, Oakland, 2013.

T. J. DEMOS, Return to Postcolony. Specters of Colonialism in Contemporary Art,Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2013.

Milena DOYTCHEVA, Le Multiculturalisme, coll. Repères, La Découverte, Paris, 2005.

Frantz FANON, Les damnés de la terre (préface de Jean-Paul Sartre), Maspero, Paris, 1961.

Jennifer A. GONZALEZ, Subject to Display. Reframing Race in Contemporary InstallationArt, The MIT Press, Londres, 2008.

Catherine GRENIER (sous la direction), Décentrement : Art et mondialisation. Anthologiede texts de 1950 à nos jours, Centre G. Pompidou, Paris, 2013.

Nathalie HEINICH, Ce que le militantisme fait à la recherche, coll. Tracts, Gallimard,Paris2021.

Geeta KAPUR, When was Modernism, essays on Contemporary Cultural Practise in India,Tulika Books, Delhi, 2000.

Alain MABANCKOU Rumeurs d’Amérique, Plon, Paris, 2020 - Huit leçons sur l’Afrique au Collège de France, Points, Paris, 2021

Armand MATTELART, Diversité culturelle et mondialisation, coll. Repères, LaDécouverte, Paris, 2005.

Armand MATTELART et Erik NEVEU, Introduction aux Cultural Studies, coll. Repères,La Découverte, Paris, 2003.

Joseph Achille MBEMBE, De la postcolonie. Essai sur l’imagination politique dansl’Afrique contemporaine, coll. Les Afriques, Karthala, Paris, 2000.

Joseph Achille MBEMBE, Sortir de la grande nuit. Essai sur l’Afrique décolonisée, Cahierslibres, La Découverte, Paris, 2010.

Kobena MERCER (sous la direction), Cosmopolitan Modernisms, inIVA, The MIT Press,Cambridge, 2005.

Claudia MESH, Art and Politics. A Small History pf Art for Social change since 1945, I.B.Tauris, Londres, 2014.

Walter MIGNOLO, The Darker Side of Western Modernity. Global Futures, DecolonialOptions, Duke University Press, Londres, 2011.

Sophie ORLANDO, British Black Art. L’histoire de l’art occidental en débat, Editions DisVoir, Paris, 2016.

Gerald RAUNIG et Gene RAY (sous la direction), Art and Contemporary Critical Practice.Reinventing Institutional Critique, MayFly, Christchurch, 2009.

Carole TALON-HUGON, L’art sous contrôle, PUF, 2019.

Evelyne TOUSSAINT (sous la direction), Postcolonial / Décolonial. La preuve par l’art, PUMidi, Toulouse, 2021.

Rolan VASQUEZ, Vistas of Modernity. Decolonial aesthetics and the end of thecontemporary, Fond Voor Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, 2020.

Françoise VERGES, Un féminisme décolonial, La Fabrique, Paris, 2019.

Jean-Pierre WARNIER, La mondialisation de la culture, coll. Repères, La Découverte,Paris, 1999.


Joaquin BARRIENDOS, « Géopolitique de l’art mondial. La réinvention de l’Amériquelatine comme région geo-esthétique », dans Art et Mondialisation. Anthologie de textes de 1950 à nos jours, sous la direction de Sophie Orlando et Catherine Grenier, C. G. Pompidou,Paris, 2013, pp.217-222.

Mark ELLIOT, « Decolonial Re-enactments? Facing and Retracing Colonial Histories inCollecting ‘Another India’ », dans Third Text n°159-160, juillet – septembre 2019« Exhibiting the Experience of Empire. Decolonising Objects, Images, Materials and Words »,2017, p.631-651.

Paula BARREIRO LOPEZ, « L’histoire de l’art au défi de la mondialisation : une positioncritique », dans Artl@s Bulletin, « Art History and the Global Challenge » volume 6, issue 1,p.36-46.- Enrique DUSSEL, « Europa, modernidad y eurocentrismo », dans La Colonialidada delsaber. Eurocentrismo y ciencias socilaes. Perspectivas latinomericanans, sous la direction de Edgardo LANDER, FACES-UCV, Caracas, 2000, p.221-244.

John GIBLIN, Imma RAMOS et Nikki GROUT, « Dismantling the Master’s House.Thoughts on Representing Empire and Decolonising Museums and Public Spaces in Practice,an Introduction », dans Third Text, n°159-160, juillet/septembre 2019, p.471-486.

MTL Collective, « From Institutional Critique to Institutional Liberation ? A DecolonialPerspective on the Crises of Contemporary Art. », dans October(Art/Theory/Crticism/Politics), n°165, été 2018, p.193-227.

Eve TUCK et K. WAYNE YANG, “Decolonization is not a metaphor”, dansDecolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society, Vol.1, n°1, 2012, p.1-40.

Olga VISCO, “Decolonizing the Art Museum: the Next Wave” dans The New York Times,1er mai 2018.


  • Université Bordeaux Montaigne
    Bordeaux, France (33)


  • Friday, April 01, 2022


  • decolonialisation, post-colonialisme, Inde


  • Mathilde Bertrand
    courriel : mathilde [dot] bertrand [at] u-bordeaux-montaigne [dot] fr
  • Nicolas Nercam
    courriel : nicolas [dot] nercam [at] u-bordeaux-montaigne [dot] fr
  • Martine Bovo
    courriel : martine [dot] bovo [at] u-bordeaux-montaigne [dot] fr

Information source

  • Thomas Brunel
    courriel : thomas_brunel [at] hotmail [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Art and decoloniality (practice, theory, paradigm) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/188d

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