Annual Conference

Annual Conference

2018 Cultural Studies Association (CSA) Conference

Sixteenth Annual Meeting of the Cultural Studies Association (USA)

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

May 31-June 2, 2018

 

This Year's Theme: Interventions

The Cultural Studies Association (CSA) invites proposals from its members for participation in its sixteenth annual meeting. You must be a member to submit, but we always welcome new members and encourage past members to renew their membership. Proposals on all topics of relevance to cultural studies with be considered, with priority given to proposals that critically and creatively engage this year's highlighted theme.

For our 2018 conference, “Interventions,” we solicit proposals that intervene in the theory, practice, teaching, or conception of cultural studies. We are also interested in how cultural studies itself intervenes in existing social, cultural, and political formations. Cultural studies is poised to play a key role in how we understand our fraught politics, fragile environment, and fragmented economy.

We wonder, as we look back at the legacy of what Stuart Hall called the First New Left, if it is time for something like a new socialist project? Greece’s Syriza, Spain’s Podemos, and the Democratic Socialists of America all signal potential energy for new economic models. But Brexit, Trump, and the resurgence of reactionary ethnonationalism alert us to the fact that empty calls for intervention are often answered by the basest forms of cultural repression. Additionally, a vast array of social struggles do not find any place within the current economic frame. These emancipatory movements--anti-racism, anti-imperialism, anti-war, the New Left, second-wave feminism, LGBT liberation, multiculturalism, and so on--emerged at roughly the same time as the field of cultural studies, and it is through cultural studies that we might intervene to claim space for them. As highlighted by tensions within the 2016 Democratic primaries and general election in the U.S. over the intersection of class- and identity-based politics, the intervention of emancipation is as unfinished as the welfare state is diminished by the “neoliberal revolution” (Hall). Today’s counter-hegemonic movements face some of the same impasses, but with a new urgency; now more than ever, we need an intellectual intervention to help craft new tactics and strategies, to generate new syntheses of economic protection and political and cultural emancipation, and to draw on the lessons of the past and build solidarity for the future.  

This year’s Cultural Studies Association conference will follow a one-day symposium on Wednesday, May 30th, hosted by the Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon entitled “Karl Marx at 200: The Future of Capitalism and Cultural Studies.” We invite CSA members to attend the symposium, which features a lineup of established Marxism/Cultural Studies scholars who have been invited to circulate pre-written papers for the event. We hope this will provide an opportunity to use the bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth to think about the role of culture in capitalism and how culture resists and reshapes the economy, as well as the contemporary relevance of Marx’s intervention and the role of Marxism in what Hall called “Cultural Studies and its theoretical legacies.” The CSA conference extends these themes beyond Marxism specifically to consider the intervention of cultural studies in general and the intellectual and creative labor of cultural studies in particular. How does culture construct, contest, and constitute new capital formations? How does it intervene in economic conditions in multiple and heterogeneous ways? Conversely, what is the role of the economy in shaping culture? What is the role of cultural studies as critical praxis in the present economic time?

Topics that might be addressed include but are not limited to:

  • The privilege of interventions; what it means to intervene

  • The materiality and spatiality of intervening

  • Work and labor--public intellectual work, physical labor, post-industrial labor, the work of culture

  • The culture industry and creative labor

  • Social media campaigns and their relationship to so-called real world interventions

  • Media interventions, fake news, and resistance to/ reinforcement of current hegemonic forces

  • Intersections of intellectuals and activists

  • Revolution or reform? Socialism or barbarism?

  • Art and social action

  • Literary, cinematic, and other textual interventions

  • Capitalism, culture, and technology

  • Strike! Riot! Strike!

  • The politics of anti-fascism

  • Historically specific interventions for equality and justice

  • Pedagogies of cultural studies

  • Interventions in sustainability, climate change, and the environment

  • Market-led globalization and cultural resistance

  • Securitization and militarization; the threat of the nuclear option

  • Nation-making, nationalism, and rethinking the national form

  • Immigration and the movement of people across national borders within the U.S. and globally

  • The movement for Black Lives and its intervention in media, culture, and the academy

We welcome proposals from scholars from any discipline, inter-discipline, or scholarly field. The CSA aims to provide multiple and diverse spaces for the cross-pollination of art, activism, pedagogy, design, and research by bringing together participants from a variety of positions inside and outside the university. Therefore, while we welcome traditional academic papers and panels, we also encourage contributions that experiment with alternative formats and intervene in the traditional disciplinary formations and exclusionary conceptions and practices of the academic (see session format options listed below). We are particularly interested in proposals for sessions designed to document and advance existing forms of collective action or catalyze new collaborations. We encourage submissions from individuals working beyond the boundaries of the university: artists, activists, independent scholars, professionals, community organizers, and community college educators.

Important Dates:

  • Friday, October 13, 2017: Submission System Opens (Membership and Registration also open. You must be a member to submit!)

  • Saturday, March 10, 2018: Last Date for Submissions

  • Sunday, March 25, 2018: Notifications Sent Out

  • Friday, April 20, 2018: Early Registration Ends and Late Registration Begins (Registration fees increase by $50 for all categories.)

  • Friday, May 11, 2018: Last day to register to participate in the conference--your name will be dropped from the program if you do not register by this date.

LOCATION

The 2018 conference will be held at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. The closest airport is Pittsburgh International Airport (23 miles). Lodging options, which will include campus housing and a CSA hotel block in the Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon area, will be shared at a later date.

SUBMISSION PROCESS AND TIMELINE

All proposals should be submitted through Easy Chair using the links supplied on the member page for the Annual Conference. Submission of proposals is limited to current CSA members but new members are welcome. See the benefits of membership and become a member: Membership Application.

Need more help? Submission video guide available HERE

INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIPS include three complimentary conference registrations annually for students. Graduate students who wish to submit proposals are strongly encouraged to speak with their Department Chair or Program Director about institutional membership and where possible, make use of the complimentary registrations. Full benefits of institutional membership are described HERE.

The submission system will be open by October 13, 2017. Please prepare all the materials required to propose your session according to the given directions before you begin electronic submission. All program information--names, presentation titles, and institutional affiliations--will be based on initial conference submissions. Please avoid lengthy presentation and session titles, use normal capitalization, and include your name and affiliations as you would like them to appear on the conference program schedule.

REGISTRATION:

In order to participate in the conference and be listed in the program, all those accepted to participate must register before May 11, 2018.

Register here.

TRAVEL GRANTS

CSA offers a limited number of travel grants, for which graduate and advanced undergraduate students can apply. Only those who are individual members, have been accepted to participate, and have registered for the conference are eligible to apply for a travel grant. Other details and criteria are listed here:

Travel grants may be found here.

Important Note about Technology Requests

Accepted participants should send their technology requests to Michelle Fehsenfeld at contact@culturalstudiesassociation.org. Technology requests must be made by May 1st.

CONFERENCE FORMATS

While we accept individual paper proposals, we especially encourage submissions of pre-constituted sessions. Proposals with participants from multiple institutions will be given preference.

All sessions are 90 minutes long. All conference formats are intended to encourage the presentation and discussion of projects at different stages of development and to foster intellectual exchange and collaboration. Please feel free to adapt the suggested formats or propose others in order to suit your session’s goals. If you have any questions, please address them to Michelle Fehsenfeld at: contact@culturalstudiesassociation.org

PRE-CONSTITUTED PAPER PANELS: Pre-constituted panels allow 3-4 individuals to each offer 15-20 minute presentations, leaving 30-45 minutes of the session for questions and discussion. Panels should have a chair/moderator and may have a discussant. Proposals for pre-constituted panels must include: the title of the panel; the name, title affiliation, and contact information of the panel organizer; the names, titles, affiliations, and email addresses of all panelists, and a chair and/or discussant; a description of the panel's topic (<500 words); and abstracts for each presentation (<150 words). Pre-constituted panels are preferred to individual paper submissions.

INDIVIDUAL PAPERS: Individuals may submit a proposal to present a 15-20 minute paper. Selected papers will be combined into panels at the discretion of the Program Committee. Individual paper proposals must include: the title of the paper; the name, title, affiliation, and email address of the author; and an abstract of the paper (<500 words).

ROUNDTABLES: Roundtables allow a group of participants to convene with the goal of generating discussion around a shared concern. In contrast to panels, roundtables typically involve shorter position or dialogue statements (5-10 minutes) in response to questions distributed in advance by the organizer. The majority of roundtable sessions should be devoted to discussion. Roundtables are limited to no more than five participants, including the organizer. We encourage roundtables involving participants from different institutions, centers, and organizations. Proposals for roundtables must include: the title of the roundtable; the name, title, affiliation, and contact information of the roundtable organizer; the names, titles, affiliations, and email addresses of the proposed roundtable participants; and a description of the position statements, questions, or debates that will be under discussion (<500 words).

PRAXIS SESSIONS: Praxis sessions allow a facilitator or facilitating team to set an agenda, pose opening questions, and/or organize hands-on participant activities, collaborations, or skill-shares. Successful praxis sessions will be organized around a specific objective, productively engage a cultural studies audience, and orient itself towards participants with minimal knowledge of the subject matter. Sessions organized around the development of ongoing creative, artistic, and activist projects are highly encouraged. The facilitator or team is responsible for framing the session, gathering responses and results from participants, helping everyone digest them, and (where applicable) suggesting possible fora for extending the discussion. Proposals for praxis sessions must include: the title of the session; the name, title, affiliation, and contact information the facilitators; a brief statement explaining the session’s connection to the conference theme and describing the activities to be undertaken (<500 words) and a short description of the session (<150 words) to appear in the conference program. Please direct any questions about praxis sessions to Michelle Fehsenfeld at contact@culturalstudiesassociation.org

SEMINARS: Seminars are small-group (maximum 15 individuals) discussion sessions for which participants prepare in advance of the conference. In previous years, preparation has involved shared readings, pre-circulated ''position papers'' by seminar leaders and/or participants, and other forms of pre-conference collaboration. We particularly invite proposals for seminars designed to advance emerging lines of inquiry and research/teaching initiatives within cultural studies broadly construed. We also invite seminars designed to generate future collaborations among conference attendees, particularly through the formation of working groups. A limited number of seminars will be selected. Once the seminars are chosen, a call for participants in those seminars will be announced on the CSA webpage and listserv. Those who wish to participate in a particular seminar must apply the seminar leader(s) directly by March 31, 2018. Seminar leader(s) will be responsible for providing the program committee with a confirmed list of participants (names, affiliations, and email addresses required) for inclusion in the conference program no later than May 11, 2018. Seminars will be marked in the conference programs as either closed to non-participants or open to all conference attendees. Proposals for seminars should include: the title of the seminar; the name, title, affiliation, and contact information of the seminar leader(s); and a description of the issues and questions that will be raised in discussion and an overview of the work to be completed by participants in advance of the seminar (<500 words). Individuals interested in participating in (rather than leading) a seminar should consult the list of seminars and the instructions for signing up for them, to be available on the conference website by March 1st.

Please direct questions about seminars to seminars@culturalstudiesassociation.org. Please note that for them to run at the conference, seminars accepted for inclusion by the program committee must garner a minimum of 8 participants, including the seminar leader(s).

AUTHOR MEETS CRITIC SESSIONS: Author Meets Critic Sessions are designed to bring authors of recent books deemed to be important contributions to the field of cultural studies together with discussants selected to provide different viewpoints. Books published one to three years before the conference (for example, for the 2013 conference, only books published between 2010-2012 could be nominated) are eligible for nomination. Only CSA members may submit nominations. Self-nominations are not accepted.

WORKING GROUP CALLS FOR PROPOSAL

WORKING GROUP SESSIONS: CSA has a number of ongoing working groups. Working groups are encouraged to organize two sessions each. Working Group submissions can can either be an individual paper or pre-constituted panel and must be made through CSA’s online EasyChair submission portal. Choose either the Working Group Panel or Working Group Paper tracks, complete the submission information, and choose the appropriate working group from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the page. Specific themed calls for some working groups are listed below; check the Working Groups page of the CSA website for the most updated calls HERE.

MAKE(R) SPACE

The Make(r) Space is a space for the collaborative and praxis driven portions of Cultural Studies – making space for art, making space for political activism, making space for new modes of knowledge exchange. It is our goal that this space will be created for those that have been historically and systemically left out of these conversations: artists, activists, poets, and other cultural critics and makers. We want to create a space that helps the CSA fulfill some of the implicit praxis portion of its goals to “create and promote an effective community of cultural studies practitioners and scholars.” Building on the poets, dancers, painters, and activists already interested in the space, we welcome proposals for exhibits, performances, workshops, skill shares, story telling, and other ways of meaning-making and art-making in the world that consider the theme of “Interventions.” We especially encourage Make(r) Space submissions from individuals working beyond the boundaries of the university: artists, activists, independent scholars, professionals, community organizers, contingent faculty, and community college educators.

Please email Make(r)Space submissions by March 10, 2018 to: makerspace@culturalstudiesassociation.org

(Notification and registration deadlines are the same as for all conference participants.)

PANEL CHAIRS: We are always in need of people to serve as panel chairs. To volunteer to do so, please submit your name, title, affiliation, and email address, as well as a brief list of your research interests, to hkapstein@jjay.cuny.edu, Chair of the Program Committee.