Session 17

Mårten Snickare / Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University


Decolonial Aesthetics: A View from the North


The emergent field of decolonial aesthetics has proven productive in its way of connecting local cultural activisms with transcultural theoretical discourse. Uncovering the ways in which central concepts (aesthetics, art) and institutions (the museum, the academy) form part of the Western colonial project, theorists within the field strive to bring out and make room for alternative ways of aesthetically relating to the world. This session wants to further discussion and exchange among scholars whose research connect on to the field of decolonial aesthetics. It also wants to try out strategies and practices of decolonial aesthetics within the geopolitical context of the North. The complex and entangled colonial histories of the Nordic countries, together with their reluctance to recognize their colonial legacy, makes this an urgent and promising task. Finally, the discourse of decolonial aesthetics might itself be enriched by a view from the North.

For this session, papers are invited that explore the field of decolonial aesthetics from a Northern point of view. Papers may discuss, but are not limited to the following themes and issues:

  • concrete cases of decolonial practices and actions within, or relating to, a Nordic geopolitical context;
  • persistent colonial structures within the art worlds and the academia in the Nordic countries. In what ways might strategies from the field of decolonial aesthetics contribute to denaturalizing and making visible these structures?
  • a comparative approach. Studying colonial oppression and decolonial action in the North, which similarities and idiosyncrasies might be found between the Nordic countries, or between the Nordic region and other regions?
  • discussions on a meta level. How may a view from the North contribute to the global discourse on decolonial aesthetics? What happens with the concept when it is tried against a Nordic geopolitical reality?