CFP: Speaking from the South

Speaking from the South
The University of Adelaide
31 May—4 June 2024

Featuring JM Coetzee, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Patricia Grace, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Achille Mbembe, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Sarah Nuttall, Kim Scott and Alexis Wright, among other leading writers and thinkers of the southern hemisphere and the Global South.

Speaking from the South aims to reflect on, demonstrate and activate the value and vitality of southern perspectives and of the arts in addressing the most pressing issues of our times, including global inequality and the ongoing effects of colonialism, the climate catastrophe, the mass displacement of humans and other beings, and the technologization of life.

The program will include an unprecedented schedule of high-level public readings, lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions, and masterclasses along with a symposium of roundtable discussions, HDR/ECR presentation panels and a postgraduate workshop.

Researchers working with critical theory and/or in cultural studies, literary studies and across the arts, humanities and the social sciences – along with activists, public intellectuals, writers and other creative practitioners and thinkers – are invited to participate in this unique gathering. Among the contributions sought are those that present critical and/or creative standpoints and interventions as well as those that offer visions for rebuilding community and sustaining life on earth, those that reflect on the world from various locations in the South and those that engage with specific southern situations or southern knowledges, practices and ways of being in the world.

Convenors: Nicholas Jose, Matthew Hooton, Meg Samuelson, Maggie Tonkin, Mandy Treagus

First round deadline: 1 October 2023

We invite proposals to contribute to roundtable discussions or to deliver work-in-progress in the HDR/ECR presentation panels scheduled for 5 June 2024.

Please submit short abstracts or proposals (150 words) and biographical notes (50-100 words), clearly indicating whether you are submitting to the roundtable discussions or the HDR/ECR presentation panels (details of each follow below).

Applications received by 1 October will be reviewed before 16 October for those needing to make advance arrangements to join us in Adelaide next year. Further calls may be circulated depending on demand.


1.   Roundtable Discussions

Speaking from the South will include a symposium of roundtable discussions with the aim of gathering, consolidating and generating critical and creative positions and debates from the South.

We invite proposals for short contributions (5-10 minutes each) that will be clustered into conversational constellations. Contributions might take the form of pertinent position papers, telling illustrations, trenchant critiques, concept notes, elaborated thought-figures, theoretical provocations, or reflections on and enactments of situational thinking and forms or texts and contexts from and/or across the southern hemisphere and the Global South.

Please note that roundtable spaces are limited in order to allow for deep discussion and extensive exchange within these forums and across the program of Speaking from the South. Proposals will be selected with the aim of accommodating a range of perspectives and positions and of clustering them into resonant conversations.

We also encourage and invite contributions to these interactive discussions in the form of audience participation and through roles such as chairing and facilitating sessions. We hope that any proposals that are not selected for presentation in the roundtables will find their way into the conversation in this manner, though we appreciate that some funders require presentation in order to support travel. You may wish to indicate in your application whether your participation would depend on a presentation slot and/or another named role on the program (including as session chairs and facilitators).

2.   HDR/ECR Presentation Panels and Workshop

Postgraduate, postdoctoral and early career researchers are invited to submit abstracts for 15-minute presentations of work-in-progress in panels scheduled for 5 June 2024, and with the opportunity to participate in a blended workshop in the evening with counterparts based in South Africa.

Presentations might engage with a wide range of texts, contexts, practices, debates, topics and concerns —and may include analytic arguments, theoretical positions, practice-led research and/or reflections on creative process or critical interventions. Presenters are encouraged to frame their enquiries with reference to southern knowledges and theories and/or to relate them to southern situations and/or position them as perspectives from the South.

This component of the program is co-convened with Tina Steiner and Lauren van der Rede of Stellenbosch University as part of a University of Adelaide Global Partnership project on ‘Writing from the South: Emergent Epistemologies and the Literary Humanities in Africa and Australia’.