11 January 2019 University of Paris Diderot Fake News, Representations of Reality and Intermediality One-day conference

In 1978, thirty years after Apartheid was officially established by the National Party, the South African government faced a political
scandal over a secret propaganda war that was designed both to influence local public opinion and rebrand the racial institution at
international level. Exposed by two Rand Daily Mail journalists, the Information scandal was nicknamed ‘Muldergate’ by reference
to the early 1970s’ Watergate revelations that lead to Richard Nixon’s resignation. Nowadays, the political masterful manipulation would have been better described with the 2017’s word of the year ‘fake news’. With the ANC in exile, ‘the issue of culture began to rise steadily in prominence within the movement, particularly in the 1980s. This intensifying interest in culture saw rising numbers of workshops, festivals and seminars devoted to the issue, interviews and public pronouncements by leading ANC figures, and the high-profile Culture in Another South Africa (CASA) conference held in Amsterdam in December 1987.

As the end of Apartheid approached, lawyer and activist Albie Sachs’s thoughts on ‘Preparing Ourselves for Freedom’ started with the controversial proposition of reconsidering ‘culture [as] a weapon of struggle’, stressing his concern on how art could address the new political era. To what extent has the freed South Africa emerged as a changed society in the 21st century? A report published by the World Bank in March 2018 reveals that South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world. This report is an analysis of South Africa’s progress in reducing poverty and inequality since 1994 : while poverty levels are lower today they still remain high, wealth inequality has been rising and consumption inequality has increased. Moreover, ‘poverty levels are consistently highest among female-headed households, black South Africans, and children below the age of 15 and these groups tend to have a higher risk of falling into poverty’.

24 years after the advent of democracy, a ‘post-apartheid apartheid’, as some have dubbed it, has somehow emerged. Within this context, has culture been re-reconsidered as a weapon of struggle? Have conceptions emerged of what culture’s role should be both in external critical information work about this ‘post-apartheid apartheid’ and in internally focused work of nation-building?
In the 2010s, events such as Nelson Mandela’s death and the Marikana massacre have been catalysing anguishes about the
fabrication of national narratives, icons and images. This has led to a partial deconstruction of representations as carriers of
colonial and apartheid ideologies, or post-apartheid ideologies pertaining to a ‘rainbow nation’ perceived as a construct. In what is sometimes referred to as the post-post-apartheid era, what role can and should the media play in the depiction of South African
realities, in South Africa and abroad? In parallel, social media have begun to transform the relations between images, information
and audiences. As social media shaped the way student movements shared information to local communities and to the world, new modes of production and distribution of filmed images have emerged, for instance with the form of the web-series.

These new developments interrogate the relations between media: what current interactions between the press, social media
and visual media (photography, videos and films in particular) do we need to analyse in order to make sense of the
evolving relation between the spectacular, the informational and the ideological? In the age of fake news, we need to
reflect on intermediality or the intermedial, broadly understood as ‘configurations which have to do with a crossing of
borders between media, and which thereby can be differentiated from intramedial phenomena as well as from transmedial
phenomena (i.e., the appearance of a certain motif, aesthetic, or discourse across a variety of different media).
We encourage papers from all disciplines, which propose to articulate the concept of intermediality in their studies of
events and representations. Researchers are invited to send a 300-word abstract and a short bio-bibliographical notice to
confrsa11january2019@gmail.com before 31 October 2018.
Working languages: English and French
Conference organizers: Annael Le Poullennec (Institut des mondes africains (UMR 8171) / PSL University), Ludmila
Ommundsen Pessoa (University of Normandy -Le Havre, Group for Research on Identities and Cultures GRIC EA 4314),
Florence Binard and Michel Prum (Group for Research on Eugenics & Racism, GRER/ICT (EA 337)– University of Paris-




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