Conference to be hosted in London 24-27 OCtober 2013, funded by the European Research Council Project, ‘Indigeneity in the Contemporary World’ led by Professor Helen Gilbert, Royal Holloway, University of London.
If indigeneity and globalization are seen to articulate (with) each other in cultural as well as political spheres, what hangs in the balance? Working through the analytical window of performance in a range of sites and modalities, this interdisciplinary conference examines the power and the precariousness of indigeneity as a politicized cultural force in our unevenly connected world. The growing visibility of artistic networks and ideological coalitions among indigenous peoples on a transnational scale urges a fresh look at the mechanisms of cultural entanglement and the particular rights and insights afforded by indigeneity in that process. Cast as an ethical touchstone in some arenas and a thorny complication in others, indigeneity now matters in global debates about natural resources, heritage, governance, representation and social justice, to name just some of the contentious issues that continue to stall the unfinished business of decolonization. Indigenous arts, simultaneously attuned to local voices and global cultural flows, have often been the vanguard in communicating what is at stake in such debates, to international as well as grass-‐roots audiences. At the same time, the global circulation of indigenous arts as cultural capital has affected the ways in which indigeneity is activated and understood across different social and aesthetic platforms. Our explicit focus on performance is designed to probe the specificities of these related movements at the level of embodied praxis. It should also prompt questions about the interactions, contradictions, disjunctions, opportunities, exclusions, injustices and aspirations that globalization entails.