Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture, announces publication of CI#5, a special issue devoted to the North African artists' engagement with the discourse of Africanity. With this fifth edition and important milestone, Critical Interventions continues to focus on its goal of examining African art history's methodologies as a field of study, and the value of African cultural production in the global economy. Future issues will evaluate the question of Who Owns African Cultural Patrimony, the discourse of African Cinema, and an examinations of the role of Fractals in African visual design, guest edited by Audrey Bennett, and Ron Eglash--whose book on African Fractals revolutionized our understanding of African numbering systems, among other exciting topics.
Critical Interventions has been a unique project since its inception. Issued by Aachron Editions as part of the Aachron Knowledge Systems initiative, the journal aimed to provide a forum for investigating the value of African art/cultural knowledge in the global economy and its mediation protocols, reviewing in particular how this value is created, and the politics of the commodification of African artworks and of their reception. The journal thus inaugurates a formal discourse on the economics of African cultural patrimony as it affects African ownership of the intellectual property rights of its indigenous knowledge systems and forms of cultural practice. The issue of African ownership of its cultural patrimony is very important in a global context that has never recognized the claim of African peoples to their own bodies or natural resources. As recent events demonstrate (the debacle of Hurricane Katrina, the catastrophe of Haiti, and the general decimation of African aspiration through poverty--all of which can be blamed squarely on the marginalization of Africa in the global economy), it is important to revisit the issue of what scholarship accomplishes, in order to examine the overt and hidden costs of scholarship and its role in the production of value in the order of things.
In this year 2010, Critical Interventions will reorganize its publishing protocols to speed up production of each issue and also to revamp its website into a fully interactive online content delivery system. The new website will enable better engagement with our growing audience and also allow us to reach readers in parts of Global Africa who might otherwise not have access to the journal. As part of a larger revaluation of Aachron's corporate focus, we will also be making substantive changes in the management of the journal: John Peffer, who has assisted the journal in an editorial role, will be stepping down to focus on new projects. Critical Interventions therefore invites interested scholars whose work engages Global African Arts and Visual Culture to apply to the journal for Associate and Assistant Editor positions, and advanced graduate students for internships respectively (send applications to firstname.lastname@example.org).
The expanding volume of information poses major problems for publications in every sphere of academic work. The publisher therefore wishes to thank everyone who has contributed to the realization of this journal since its inception. We are humbled by the journal's survival in the face of very long odds but remain committed to its continued existence as a viable forum for important scholarly discourse on African art history. Happy new year and best wishes to everyone.