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Call for Papers: Organized Abandonment: Cultures of crisis and resistance
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10/22/2019 to 11/30/2019
When: Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Where: Burnaby, British Columbia 

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Call for papers from Canadian Association of Cultural Studies

Call for Papers

Organized Abandonment: Cultures of crisis and resistance

May 15-16, 2020 Simon Fraser University Burnaby, BC, Canada

Conference keywords: debt; extractivism; migrants; surveillance; carceral cultures; cultures of resistance; resurgence; solidarity; neo-liberal state governance; surplus populations; environmentalism

Around the world, climate crisis, violence and intensive capitalist accumulation, have led to widespread precarity. Migrant populations on the move are shunted between unwilling states, detained at border crossing points, and parked in refugee camps. People and states are burdened by insurmountable debt, while the interests of finance capital are protected. With increased migration and income insecurity, safe and secure housing options have become less accessible. Global climate change has created conditions of increasing food and fresh water scarcity, and made species extinction commonplace. Market deregulation, in combination with the continued manifestation of colonial dispossession and the global market of property speculation, have hollowed out the state, creating what Ruth Wilson Gilmore (2015) has termed “organized state abandonment” and Elizabeth Povinelli (2011) “economies of abandonment.” Apparently caused by the retreat of the state, abandonment is actually a strategy of racial capitalist state formation to exploit vulnerable communities. Though experienced materially and affectively at an individual level, this state of affairs is more fruitfully conceptualized as an ascendant logic in the governance of populations and environments. The concept of organized abandonment signals the process of governing populations through callous yet purposeful neglect, framing many humans and other lifeforms as surplus to the contemporary political economic order.

Acts of resistance to prevailing practices of abandonment of the very conditions necessary for supportable life are ubiquitous, galvanizing contemporary political imaginaries with demands for another world. In order to address the current configuration and strategize forms of resistance, the CACS 2020 conference invites presentations on the interdisciplinary theme of organized abandonment. The conference is hosted at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Campus on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Papers, panels and workshops are invited on (but not restricted to) the following topics:

*migrant caravans and the politics of moblity
*racial capitalism
*incarcerated worker strikes
*land and water protectors *extinction rebellions

*petrocultures, extractivism and climate change
*militarized policing
*surveillance capitalism
*property relations and dispossession
*colonial and neocolonial relations
*housing markets, underhousing and homelessness
*privatization of education
*hollowing out of public media
*food and clean water insecurity
*overdose crises
*nationalist and misogynist exit strategies
*insurgent knowledge and activisms
*alternative forms of social and political arrangement

The CACS organizing committee strongly encourages pre-constituted panels/workshops and alternative approaches to academic presentation styles. Proposals for presentations/papers, panels, roundtables and workshops are due by November 30, 2019. Please send proposals of 350 words for individual papers and 500 words for workshops, roundtables or panels, along with 50 word contributor bios For more information, please go to our:

A) web page:

Davina Bhandar & Zoë Druick, conference co-chairs


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