What Filters through the Curtain : Reconsidering Modernism, Travelling Literatures and Little Magazines in a Cold War Context Publishing the Postcolonial : Politics and Economics of Postcolonial Print Cultures

Intervenant : Laetitia Zecchini

Newcastle University, United Kingdom

This is the second workshop in a series being convened by the Postcolonial Print Cultures International Network, and follows our successful inaugural event in April 2017 at New York University.
These workshops focus on the diverse ways in which postcolonial writing is produced, published, printed and disseminated, with the aim to develop a more precise picture of how it acquires the status of a literary object. More broadly, we seek to ask how the “literary” is formed in relationship to print culture, and what are the connections between the economics and the politics/ideology of publishing within the context of decolonization, diaspora, and anti-colonial nationalism.
How does print shape perceptions of culture, and how do audiences use it to shape their own political aspirations, their own changing understanding of what culture means to them in the epochal shift from colonization to decolonization, in the transformation of cultural and political hegemonies across a range of geographical areas affected by the unravelling of imperialism ? How do notions of the literary change ?
In this second workshop, Publishing the Postcolonial, we approach these questions from different angles. Firstly, this means examining what kinds of presses tend to publish postcolonial texts : are these always necessarily “small” and radical ? How does “small” publishing survive ? What has been the input, and impact, of commercial publishers (e.g. multinational publishers like HarperCollins, Penguin, Random House) on the development of postcolonial literatures in the global North and South ? What does state support (as against commercial marketing considerations) imply ? Secondly, the workshop aims to attempt to “map” the state of literary publishing in the postcolonial/developing world, with especial attention to the Caribbean, Africa, and India. This could include exploring print dissemination in more unconventional formats, e.g. through an examination of copyright laws, the role of piracy, second-hand book-selling, etc. In relationship to this, we aim to look at publishing collaborations between the global South and the North, e.g. by examining the role of feminist presses such as Kali for Women, Zubaan and Virago. We are also interested in publishing and translation : in what ways is the currently flourishing translation industry a form of appropriation, i.e. literature produced in the south and marketed in the north—and to whose benefit ? Thirdly, we explore other material formats, such as magazines, radio, and visual culture, as important venues for developing the careers of postcolonial writers, and for producing an idea of the literary for their audiences. Here the question of accessibility to print, radio, and the visual, intersects with the exploration of class with regards to readerships. So-called “ephemera” such as little magazines were in fact instrumental for the flourishing of literary writing in the wake of decolonization.

Thursday January 18, 2018

2-3:30pm : Session 1

Stephanie Newell (Yale), “Disconnecting the -Phone : Anglo-Scribes and Anglo-Literates in West African Newspaper History”
Sara Marzagora (SOAS), “The Emperor, the Intellectuals and the Press : Print Culture and Class Formation in Ethiopia (1941-1970)”

3:30-4 : Coffee break

4-5:30 : Session 2

Saronik Bosu (NYU), “News of the World : Printing the International in Nationalist Times, Amrita Bazar Patrika 1918-22”
Aakriti Mandhwani (SOAS), “From the Age of Dharma to the age of Dharmvir Bharti : Publishing Dharmyug”
Fionnghuala Sweeney (Newcastle), “Playing with Print : CLR James, Paul Robeson and Toussaint L’ouverture”
Friday January 19, 2018

9:30-11am : Session 3

Hala Halim (NYU), “Progressive Aesthetics in Two 1940s Egyptian Journals”
Emily Sibley (NYU), “Exposure : The Visual Culture of the Street and the Egyptian Revolution”

11-11:30pm : Coffee break

11:30-1 : Session 4

Toral Gajarawala (NYU Abu Dhabi), “Sadequain’s Stranger”
Krupa Shandilya (Amherst), “An Incomplete Modernism : On Translating Miraji’s Lost Archive”

1-2:30 : Lunch

2:30-4 : Session 5

Laetitia Zecchini (CNRS), “What filters through the curtain” : Reconsidering Modernism, Travelling Literatures and Little Magazines in a Cold War Context
Sarah Niazi (Westminster), “Film Journalism and the Urdu Public Sphere in India (1930- 1947)”

4-4:30 : Coffee break

4:30-6 : Session 6

Roundtable on “Postcolonial Publishing.” Chaired by James Procter (Newcastle), with Urvashi Butalia (Zubaan Press) in remote connection, Mark Byers (Newcastle), Alison Donnell (University of East Anglia), Nicholas Laughlin (Caribbean Review of Books), Francesca Orsini (SOAS), Jeremy Poynting (Peepal Tree Press), and Stefan Tobler (&Other Stories).

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