CFP: Fabienne Kanor in Transgression

Documenting, Performing, Writing, and Filming the Insufferable

A Multivolume Anthology

This multivolume anthology project centers on Fabienne Kanor’s performance, literary, filmic and journalistic works through critical examinations of their embedded transgressive aesthetic.

Intended Focus:

This timely contribution is the first anthology focused on the body of work of award-winning author, filmmaker, and journalist Fabienne Kanor. It tackles the transgressive aesthetics that inform/arise from her filmic, literary, performance, and journalistic engagements. The multivolume anthology will foster a reading together of the literary, visual, and performing arts to arrive at a transregional, trans-genre, and transdisciplinary conversation in Africana studies writ large. Kanor’s body of work puts in place a complex connectedness and fragmentation of bodies that often tell, perform, and suffer repulsive, offensive and detestable behaviors. These experiences (of trauma, displacement, resistance, citizenship, de-civilization, healing, desire, gender, or sexual identity) go against bodily decorum and make tangible an epistemology that upholds a sense of collective identity and memory. Through her transgressive representations of propriety, consumption, and commodification, Kanor’s artistic works prevent the audience from looking away and establish an engaged witnessing and agency. Through multisensorial imagery (auditory, olfactory, gustatory, kinesthetic and tactile) Kanor emphasizes the transgressional manifestation of her protagonists/subjects; bringing the audience closer to her protagonists/subjects’ body revealed through its many smells, touches, densities, and forms. The artist rejects processes of beautification and does not follow classic ideals of representational ideologies concerning women, the Caribbean, or blackness (among others). She creates ambivalent paradigms of being instead of a set of normalizing principles through subjects bending the framework of canonical entelechy. Kanor’s works also take on the imperialist discourse of slavery and shift the national archives’ value as illustrated in Humus (2006) where Kanor complicates the context of the archive and changes its significance and meaning, by reinterpreting the enduring archive from a March 23, 1774 captain’s report focused on justifying the loss of a valuable cargo of fourteen unnamed African women (who escaped from his ship’s hold to jump overboard) to reinvesting them with embodied experiences, identities, and voices as she narrates their own stories. In her artistic productions, Kanor unremittingly struggles both with how to give voice to these voiceless, insufferable, and unwatchable black experiences, and how to shoulder their legacy. As she traces what Francophone studies scholar Françoise Lionnet calls “Geographies of Pain” (1997), Kanor also performs a physical and transatlantic maroonage/passage into the spaces that witnessed the slave trade or the places that continue to reveal the brutalizing and dehumanizing effects of slavery on the inheritors across race, gender and class (Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism, 1950). Echoing Edouard Glissant, Kanor sees in places of confinement (whether geographical, psychological, emotional, or social) a space that holds embodied “fermentation, transformation, Creolization, dilution and exchange” (Francis, “Entretien avec Fabienne Kanor, ‘l’Ante-llaise par excellence,’” 2016). Kanor’s creative process is embodied through movement, development, and transformation or what Caribbean scholar, Dominique Aurélia theorized as a “poétique du chancellement” (2016). From Nantes to Saint-Louis Senegal, Martinique to Cameroon, Guadeloupe to Louisiana, or Haiti to Nigeria (to name but a few), Kanor’s cartography of creation marks her own acts of resistance as she refuses to lose sight of her own humanity. Her filmic, literary and performance outsets remain rooted in embodied “désontologue et réontologique” experiences (Anny Dominique Curtius, 2000).

This multivolume anthology exposes the multi-modal art forms, practices, and aesthetics found in Kanor’s works – inclusive of rituals, text-based works, visual art, sound art, and performance art. It uncovers her trans-genre texts as hybrid makings also signifying the hybrid bodies they represent. Hence, issues of commodity, Creolization, trace, site, body, or landscape (to only name a few) will be analyzed through their porous (rather than impenetrable) boundaries between the literary, visual, and/or virtual. Contributions will offer new theoretical and critical examinations of Fabienne Kanor’s creative process: How can we investigate, theoretically or critically, Kanor’s transgressive aesthetics? In what ways her transgressive works challenge Western conventional perception of genres, the standardization of cultures and the material archive? How do Kanor’s works historicize agencies of resistance, test moral sensibilities, sabotage the voyeuristic gaze and sexualized pleasures? How do they stimulate a new methodology for reading the black body?


Fields of Study:

Transdisciplinary critical studies are highly encouraged: Africana Studies; Caribbean Studies; Conflict Studies; Cross-Cultural/Feminist Geography/Cartography; Ethnic and Cultural Studies; Film Studies; Francophone Studies; Visual and Performing Arts Studies; Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Post/colonial Studies.


Corpus of Study:

Fabienne Kanor’s Audio Documentaries; Documentary Films; Critical Essays; Performances; Movies; Novels; Plays; Short Stories


Topics/Themes of Interest:

Themes of study include (but are not limited to) the following:

- Activism; (Caribbean/African Diaspora) Activist politics; Feminism; Community;

- Archipelagoes; Islands; Trace; Site; Landscape; Ecosystem; Eco-criticism;

- Body; Bones; Commodity; Propriety; Consumption; Commodification; Dis/possession;

- Branding; Ethics and morals; Entertainment and interpretation;

- Neo/Colonization; Decolonization; Bondage; (Police) Brutality; Alienation;

- Citizenship; Emancipation; Belonging; Nation; Homeland; Geopolitics;

- Creolization; Créolité; Poétique of Relations; Caribbeanness; Négritude; Rhizome

- Diaspora; Dis/placements; Im/migration; Transnationalism; Trafficking; Tourism;

- Embodiment; Corporeality; Ancestral Voices; Memory; Knowledge;

- Film; Documentary; Imaging and Imagining; Lens; Gaze; Recording;

- Gender, sex and sexuality; Jouissance, Pleasure; Performance;

- Marginal identities, desires, and negotiations; Polycentric and heterogeneous identities

- Mass culture aesthetics; Shock culture aesthetics; Mediated representations;

- (Global mass) Media; Mass dissemination; Capitalist confluences;

- Monuments; Archives; (Afro/Caribbean) Historiography; (Living) Artifacts; Traditions;

- Performatic repertoire (oral traditions, music, dance, rituals); Cosmology;

- Power; “Power-knowledge;” “Microphysics of power;” Normalization;

- Re-counting; Recovering; Repetition; Circle;

- Transgression; Subversion; Unsoundness; Prohibition; Madness; Provocation; Aporia;

- (Kanor in) Translation;

- Trauma; Blès; Pain; (Gender-based) Violence;

- Sea; Liquids; Blood; Middle Passage; Cale; Bateau négrier; Ventre; Confinement;

- Polycentric/heterogeneous aesthetics; Multi/Sensorial; Polyvocal; Polyphony; Hybridity

- Survival; Resistance; Empowerment;

- Visual art; Sound art; Performance art; Symbolic drama; Ritualizing;

- Witnessing; Participating; Ownership; Depicting; Representing


Guidelines and Important Dates for Contributors:

All articles will be subject to blind peer review.

An abbreviated CV and a list of research interests

Word Limit: 550

Language: English or French

Due date: September 15, 2018
Late submissions will not be accepted

Notification of Acceptance: October 15, 2018

Complete (Accepted) Articles Submission:
Word Limit: 9,000 including notes and list of works cited
Language: English or French
Due Date: March 15, 2019
Late submissions will not be accepted

Main Contact Person:
Send Materials/Inquiries to: Dr. Gladys M. Francis