Call for Papers: InVisible Culture, “Border Crossings”

“Border Crossings” – Issue 26

For its twenty-sixth issue, InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture invites scholarly articles and creative works that address the complex and multiple meanings of border crossings.

In September 2015, a photograph shocked the world by showing the body of a small boy lying facedown on a beach in Bodrum, Turkey. Later identified as Aylan Kurdi from Syria, he and other members of his family perished in a failed attempt to flee to Canada. The image became the focal point of the on-going refugee struggles, confronting us with the power of images, their affective potential, and the politics of representation.

IVC Issue 26 seeks to examine how border crossings can challenge the stable, ontological distribution of power, capital, and resources along constructed lines of demarcation. In considering the crossing of a border, we must first understand what constitutes a border and how it performs in the visual field. Globalization tries to dissolve borders through the decentralization of power, yet at the same time, it immanently and symbolically re-inscribes national borders through the unequal distribution of capital. In thinking about contemporary art, art historian Pamela M. Lee’s Forgetting the Art World utilizes theoretical concepts taken from Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire, to critique globalization and its processes of cultural and social homogenization that “evacuate difference and distance”.

For Issue 26, we would like contributors to consider how border crossings can be a conceptual tool to understand acts of inclusion and exclusion of not just bodies and materials, but of ideologies and cultures. Against the backdrop of multiculturalism and neoliberal democracy, how do racial, class, and gender borders undermine the possibility of a unified political project? How do borders produce stateless subjects to perpetuate precarious conditions of labor? How can we think of borders as a form of infrastructural control and networked artificial intelligence? And if a visual object is a material manifestation of globalization, how does it negotiate borders through its circulation?

We welcome papers and artworks that further the various understandings ofborder crossings. Possible topics of exploration include, but are not limited to:

  • Modern and postmodern conceptions of space, borders, and liminality
  • Historical accounts of migration through visual culture (painting, photography, performance, film, etc.)
  • Currency of images
  • Critique of the so-called global turn in contemporary art
  • The ideological practice of framing
  • Border crossings as acts of negotiation and transgression
  • Border crossings as an erasure of the self and the other
  • Feminist and ecological critiques of nation-states
  • Precarious, immaterial, and cognitive labor and labor as information
  • Representations of systemic violence as it relates to border crossing
  • Critical practices of border crossings and antagonism towards borders
  • The bodily and material effects of immaterial borders

Please send completed papers (with references following the guidelines from the Chicago Manual of Style) of between 4,000 and 10,000 words to ivc[dot]rochester[at]gmail[dot]com by March 15, 2016. Inquiries should be sent to the same address.

Creative/Artistic Works
In addition to written materials, InVisible Culture is accepting work in other media (video, photography, drawing, code) that reflect upon the theme as it is outlined above. For questions or more details concerning acceptable formats, go to or contact ivc[dot]rochester[at]gmail[dot]com.

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