Postgraduate Journal of Culture & the Arts
Recently, there has been an increase in mistrust regarding the political establishment. Forms of expressing this disconformity have been at the centre of public and academic discussion. Countercultures, as attempts to find an alternative to social conformity, are central to these expressions of dissent. Books like Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies: Online culture wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the alt-right (2017) highlight the resurgence of youth subcultures in the last decade. Correspondingly, counterculture movements on both sides of the political divide have seen their numbers multiplied.
Art, fashion, literature, cinema and music have historically been vehicles to express and disseminate dissent. From the murals of Diego Rivera to those of Banksy, and from the Romantic Jacobins to the South African EFF, dissenting and countercultural movements have used the arts to stand against powerful social institutions. Likewise, countercultural movements have found their way into the politics of those who want to preserve the existing social structures. Donald Trump’s promise to ‘Drain the Swamp’ while reinforcing conservative values appealed to a large mass of US voters who saw the rise of the left as a menace to their lifestyle. In this context of anti-establishment sentiment, large corporations, too, have made use of the aesthetics of dissent for private gain, as was the case with Pepsi Co.’s controversial Kendall Jenner ad.
Issue 26 of FORUM seeks contributions from a range of disciplines that engage with the notions of counterculture and dissent. How do countercultural movements interact with powerful social institutions? How do historical and current countercultural movements differ? What role do race, class, and gender play in the expression and dissemination of dissenting ideas? What roles do the arts play in the development of organised and nonorganised resistance? Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
- Conservative and radical subcultures
- Historical countercultures
- Violent and non-violent forms of protest
- Party aesthetics and political propaganda
- The rise of the alt-right and the conservative youth
- Graffiti, muralism, and dissenting public art
- Pamphlet printing, cartoneras, and self-organised presses
- Protest songs, hippies, and folk music
- BAME countercultures
- Arts in popular and student movements
- Counterculture in the fashion and music industries
- Situationism, urbanism, and revolutionising the city
- Online/offline activism
- Representations of countercultures in literature
- Fictional countercultures
Papers must be between 3,000 – 5,000 words in length, formatted according to MLA guidelines. FORUM is also considering academic book reviews (1,000 words) and multimedia and alternative presentations for publication. Please e-mail your article, a short abstract and your academic CV in separate, clearly labelled DOC(X). files to email@example.com by 26 February 2018. All eligible articles will be peer reviewed prior to publication. Only one submission per author per issue is permitted.