From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

2 (2017) | insurgencies from the south and human rights

In line with the mission of From the European South, issue number two aims at investigating insurgent actions and discourses from the South, intended as collective and/or individual examples of forceful claiming and revising of human rights from ex-centric perspectives.

The ‘South’, as an idea and as a conceptual notion, has recently experienced a re-positioning in various disciplines, which has expanded its meanings well beyond plain geographical reference. The term ‘South’ has mainly been used as a synonym of the world’s ‘poor’ and ‘developing’ part, in polar opposition to a ‘rich’ and ‘developed’ North. The emergence of the term ‘Global South’ in the last few decades has marked a shift from a focus on development towards a focus on geopolitical power relations in a globalized world, and is intended to affirm that, despite recent economic and political changes, there remains a division of rich and poor countries.

The term ‘global’ also suggests that the North/South distinction is not a geographical categorization of the world, but one based on economic inequalities that happen to have some continuity. If the North/South divide remains productive for identifying political, economic, sociocultural, and environmental inequalities, defining the spatial contours of the Global South seems a worthless attempt. The ‘South’ loses any spatial reference, and functions as a synonym of disadvantage, wherever it arises. Hence, any nation state, society and community can be permeated by this idea of a ‘percolating’ South, a South that is disseminated in the world, especially after the recent fluxes of migrants that are questioning the West’s idea of nationality and national borders.

As a term that talks of the historical subalternity of a portion of the world to a colonizing North, we understand the “South” not only as a geo-cultural location, but also as a resistant epistemological positioning that aims at cracking the universalism of Euro-American knowledge and its past and present products.

In this line, we address the notion of the South as the positioning and understanding of the different ‘subalterns’ – geographical, religious, gender, sexual, ethnic, racial, or age-related… – which may propel new reflections on the question of human rights, or which inflect rights ‘against the grain’, that is, from non-western, post- or decolonial, rebellious, revolutionary, ex-centric, visceral standpoints.

‘Human rights’ include civil, political, economical, social and cultural rights, and are considered interdependent and indivisible. A list of human rights issues can be found here.

Proposals for contributions are welcome from the full range of the humanities ((literature, language studies, philosophy, religion, history, geography, visual arts, performing arts) and the humanities that are also social sciences (anthropology, archaeology, area studies, communication studies, cultural studies, gender studies, law and politics, psychology, sociology…). A transdisciplinary approach is welcome.

Suggested topics:

  • –  the percolating South: migrant narratives and the figure of the refugee, the expatriate, and the exiled
  • –  resistance, insurgencies, revolts, and political and social movements of/from the South (Rhodes MustFall, BlackLivesMatter, etc.)
  • –  decolonised knowledge and the right to education
  • –  the epistemology of ‘rights’ and their redefinitions/decolonization outside its European origin andimprint
  • –  the meanings of the human from a ‘southern’ perspective
  • –  civil rights, communitarian rights and new social/political networks
  • –  economic rights: struggles against poverty and exploitation
  • –  the relationship between colonialism, neocolonialism, capitalism and forms of labour
  • –  meanings of citizenship in a globalized world and reconceptualization of the nation state
  • –  the divides in the Western world caused by recent migrations
  • –  resistance to dominant narratives
  • –  survival, (post)conflict and postcolonial literatures
  • –  the right to violence? thinking of/acting on present discriminations through Fanon’s vision
  • –  ………….Deadline for paper proposals (300 words): January 31st, 2017 Acceptance of proposal: February 15th, 2017
    Full article submission: May 31st, 2017

    Please send your abstract to both the following addresses:

    annalisa.oboe@unipd.it eli.bordin@gmail.com