Our article takes the form of a conversation, in which we interrogate the potential of a selected group of cultural artefacts, i.e. novels, paintings, documentaries, photographs, and movies, produced in two distinct cultural and geopolitical (diasporic) areas – Arab and African – with the intention to complicate crucial notions such as human rights, the Global South, and insurgency. We discuss theoretical works on creolization, postcoloniality, everyday politics, together with contemporary creative works, with the aim to offer an intercultural dialogue on the epistemic revolution produced by a Southern nonviolent insurgency. We claim that the (diasporic) artists-activists discussed in this article provide readers with examples of forms of insurgency that are minor, ordinary, apparently quiet and unassuming, yet ultimately encroaching, as those theorized by Asef Bayat, Leela Gandhi and Judith Butler. Hence, the South emerges from their works as an in-between site of concrete action and transformation, which is inextricably bound to the North, rather than separate or in opposition. Similarly, the Mediterranean area appears to be a rich “contact zone” (Pratt 1991), but also a site fraught with tensions, urgently asking that we take charge of them.
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