Annual Conference

2016 Cultural Studies Association (CSA) Conference 

Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Cultural Studies Association (US)  

Villanova University, Villanova, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2-5 June, 2016


Policing Crises Now


The Cultural Studies Association (CSA) invites proposals from its current and future members for participation in its fourteenth annual meeting. Proposals on all topics of relevance to cultural studies are welcome, with priority given to proposals that critically and creatively engage this year's highlighted theme.

The theme, Policing Crises Now, is prompted by and departs from the rich and diverse innovations and provocations of Policing the Crisis (1978), a groundbreaking work generated by a collective of scholars, including and facilitated by Stuart Hall. Those innovations and provocations include the collective nature of the research, the conjunctural/structural mode of analysis, the attention given to race, gender and sexuality in political-economic dynamics, as well as the analysis of intertwined statistical representations, media representations, legal proceedings and, of course, policing by police, as a response to a “crisis of hegemony.”

Taking up Policing Crises Now, in the current conjuncture, requires fresh theorization both of policing, in light, especially, of the potential elasticity of the metaphor, and of crisis in light of its diverse deployments in critical analysis, dominant political-economic practice, and popular culture. By pluralizing crises, we aim to open the scope of inquiry at this conference to include the full range of social, cultural, natural, political, and economic phenomena to which the term crisis has been attached. We also aim, under this rubric, to develop conversations engaged during our last conference about the structure of university work and employment, the ways knowledge production is constrained and enabled by austerity politics, neoliberal entrepreneurialism, the prominence of debt and risk, and the university as a site of policing of thought and political activism. It is our hope that this conference both builds from and enables collective knowledge production and research practices.

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

  • Collective research methodologies
  • Securitization, as deployed in financial and international relations/military/police contexts, and the relation between those uses
  • Risk, as deployed vis-a-vis individualized responsibility for physical danger, “at risk” populations, and as a central component of economic praxis
  • The NAACP journal, The Crisis, and its editor W.E.B. DuBois, especially their role in broadening the struggle against racial injustices 
  • Debt as policing practice and/or debtor as moralized subject position
  • Financial “crises” in the US, UK, Greece, Iceland, or other specific locations
  • Precarity, its locations and impacts, ranging from the minutiae of labor contracts to its impacts on social reproduction.
  • Policing of national borders against migration/refugees (in Europe now, but also many other times and locations)
  • Identity formations within and among historical and contemporary migrants as modes of subjection and resistance
  • Policing as a context of imperial convergence through shared strategies of rule, policy/arms transfers (i.e. U.S.-Israel), shared contexts of training.
  • Anti-Black police violence in the US (and elsewhere)
  • Media (old, new, social) representations of anti-Black police violence
  • Relation between incarceration and debt -- the revival of “debtor’s prison”
  • Activisms and rebellions against policing and prisons, recently in Ferguson, Baltimore, under the rubric of Black Lives Matter as well as or in relation to long standing efforts and organizations (especially local to Villanova or Philadelphia)
  • Representational strategies and strategic representations (by the state, by artists, by activists) of violence, debt, police.
  • Restructuring of universities for increased managerial control and insecuritization of faculty, etc.
  • Campuses as a historical context of policing politicization in the name of the public; the emerging context of campus privatization and securitization; new techniques, strategies, and rationales for campus policing.
  • Renewed campus regulation of sexuality, claims of sexual vulnerability, and sexual “securitization” of students.

We welcome proposals from scholars contributing to cultural studies who may be located in any discipline, inter-discipline, or scholarly field. 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 challenge 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. And we invite proposals that engage with the conference location/region and its many resources.

Important Dates:

  • October 15, 2015: Submission System Opens (Membership and Registration also open -- You must be a member to submit!)
  • February 1, 2016: Submissions Due
  • March 15, 2016: Notifications Sent Out
  • April 15, 2016: Early Registration Ends and Late Registration Begins (Registration fees increase by $50 for all categories.)
  • May 1, 2016: 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.



The 2016 conference will be held at Villanova University, Villanova, PA. The closest airport is Philadelphia International Airport. Lodging options will include on-campus accommodation, and accommodation in hotels in the surrounding Villanova locale and in Center City Philadelphia--a 20 minute train ride from Villanova.


All proposals should be submitted through the CSA online system, available at Annual Conference. Submission of proposals is limited to current CSA members. See the benefits of membership and become a member: Membership Application.

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 15, 2015. 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. 


In order to participate in the conference and be listed in the program, all those accepted to participate must register before May 1, 2016. Register here.


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:

Important Note about Technology Requests

Accepted participants should send their technology requests to Madeline Cauterucci at and Michelle Fehsenfeld at Technology requests must be made by May 1st.


Note: 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:

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 (<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

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, 2016. 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 1, 2016. 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 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).

WORKING GROUP SESSIONS: CSA has a number of ongoing working groups. Working groups are encouraged to organize two sessions each. Those working groups organizing their sessions through an open call will post those call for proposals on the CSA website. If you are interested in participating in the conference through a working group, you should contact that working group directly. More information is available at:

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 can be nominated) are eligible for nomination. Only CSA members may submit nominations.  Self-nominations are not accepted.

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. 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. In the spirit of this year’s theme, Policing Crises Now, and building on the work done at last year’s CSA conference we will be utilizing a portion of the Make(r)Space to make space for a visual representation and discussion of debt and risk.

Please email Make(r)Space submissions by February 1, 2016 to:

(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 through the conference website.