Call for Contributions ‘The Instrumentalisation of Critique’

3 min read

David Blankenstein, Irene Hilden, Andrea Scholz und Brenda Spiesbach

An examination of colonialism and coloniality is one of the core themes at the Humboldt Forum, and is in no small measure a result of the pressure on the institution in formation. Commitment to diversity and a multiplicity of voices, combined with the aspiration to be a forum for critical opinions, are now fundamental maxims of our program plan. These commitments clearly demonstrate the standpoint of this institution as it claims its place within post-colonial critique, and employs its resources to that end.

Depending on one’s perspective, this is either a consistent process, stemming both from our expectations of a forum which, in the spirit of its mandate set down in the coalition agreement, aspires to be an ‘international platform for dialogue on global cultural ideas’, and – more generally – from a political and social responsibility to shape a more just world. Or, conversely, it is a paradox: an institution which, for many, embodies the antithesis of decolonisation (looted art, a symbol of Prussian rule, superficiality, white dominance …), a position which affords it the means to invite critique.

The question of whether the Humboldt Forum can be a (legitimate) place for post-colonial critique is directly linked to the question of the instrumentalisation and commodification of critique. In which relation do the critical standpoints of the artists and academics funded by the Humboldt Forum, stand to the struggles and standpoints of activists and other critics within civil society? What weight does post-colonial critique carry within the Humboldt Forum? What friction is generated by the inherent contradictions? Is post-colonial critique becoming a product, an ‘asset’ within our cultural programme?

In the first edition of our magazine ‘… a world in which coloniality no longer has a place’, we would like to invite people to submit contributions addressing the question of the instrumentalisation of critique (both using the Humboldt Forum as an example, and also with a wider scope); contributions which stem from personal subjective experiences and reflections are welcome.

We welcome contributions using a variety of media (e.g. video and audio contributions, images, comics, collages) as well as written contributions of up to 15,000 characters (including spaces) in German, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Submissions will be accepted until 28 February 2022. Contributions selected by the editorial group will be remunerated with an amount to cover expenses, and published under the authors’ names, or anonymously, if preferred. Please send all contributions and ideas, or direct any questions regarding this call for papers, to [email protected].