Annual Conference

2019 Conference Program is NOW AVAILABLE

The conference location is in the Lanvin-Bernick Center (LBC), Tulane University.


2019 Submission System is CLOSED

Annual Conference

2019 Cultural Studies Association (CSA) Conference

Seventeenth Annual Meeting of the Cultural Studies Association (USA)

Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

May 30-June 1, 2019

This Year's Theme: Performance, Politics, Power

The Cultural Studies Association (CSA) invites proposals for participation in its seventeenth annual meeting. Proposals on all topics relevant to cultural studies will be considered, with priority given to proposals that engage this year's highlighted theme. Membership of the CSA is not required to apply for this year’s conference, but membership is required in order to present at the conference.

For our 2019 conference, entitled “Performance, Politics, Power,” we solicit proposals that focus on performance as a creative and critical force within contemporary culture(s) and their antecedents. Within the U.S. and beyond, the past few years have been a turbulent and reactionary period of social and political realignment. However, this realignment has also elicited renewed progressive political activity and cultural engagement, such as public performances against racial and gender discrimination, or overt popular protests against quietist notions of political “civility,” as occurred in the U.S. in response to the Trump Administration’s child separation policy or Executive Order 13769, colloquially referred to as the “Muslim Ban.” Performance has also been central to the ongoing practice of identity politics and its uneasy centrality within the media industries. To this end, we encourage proposals that investigate and consider new forms of performance that have emerged as a means of pushing back against the politics of division and fear, and how past intersections between performance and power help us reconsider the politics of performance today. How, for instance, might already-existing forms of performance be “refunctioned” (Umfunktionierung) as strategized by German Marxist playwright and poet, Bertolt Brecht? This theme is especially significant while the CSA is in New Orleans, given the city’s unique history of using performance, carnival, and other forms of transculturation as a means of engaging and resisting colonial rule, slavery, oppression, conflict, and discrimination, from the city’s founding as a former French colony in the eighteenth century to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

While we welcome proposals concerned with all types of artistic performance, our interest in performance is by no means confined to traditional activities within the performing arts. We are also interested in performance as the enactment of new political personae in the “theatrum mundi” (society as theater), and the growing utility of all such performative gestures for fostering solidarity and democracy. Likewise, we welcome proposals that question the limits of performance as a framework for enacting politics, or those that explore the history of performance not only as a mode of challenging social power, but also as a means of expressing and consolidating power. And as with past conferences, we welcome proposals from all disciplines and topics relevant to cultural studies, including literature, history, sociology, geography, politics, anthropology, communications, popular culture, cultural theory, queer studies, critical race studies, feminist studies, postcolonial studies, legal studies, science studies, media and film studies, material culture studies, platform studies, affect studies, visual art and performance studies.

Thematic topics that applicants might address include, but are not limited to:

  • What does performance do?
  • Specific contemporary or historical case studies of New Orleans or elsewhere
  • The limitations and possibilities of performance for challenging the ideological and material manifestations of oppressive regimes
  • The politics of aesthetics and the aesthetics of political enactment
  • Performance as ideology
  • Dialectical theatre
  • The labor of performance, its embodiment, and political economy
  • Community engagement through the arts and activism
  • The imbrication of performance and identity politics
  • The politics of fan cultures and communities
  • Diversity and representation in film and television performance
  • Dialectics of spontaneity and organization in political performance
  • The historicization of personae, roles, subjectivity, social and personal identity
  • Celebrity politics and the collapse of the public/private distinction
  • Authenticity, doubt, and the fake in the public sphere
  • Affect and performance
  • Performance in or against the nation-state
  • Arts industries, art markets
  • The political performativity of higher education
  • The commodification of performance

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:

  • Submission System Open: Monday, October 15, 2018
  • Final Deadline for Submissions: Monday, Dec 3, 2018. DEADLINE EXTENDED to Friday, January 4, 2019.
  • Early Bird Registration: Monday, October 15, 2018 until Friday, March 1, 2019.
  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019: Notifications Sent Out
  • Friday, March 1, 2019: Early Registration Ends, Regular Registration Rate Begins
  • Friday, May, 3, 2019: Last day to register to participate in the conference. If you do not register by this date and are not a current member, your name will be dropped from the program.


The 2019 conference will be held at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. The closest airport is Louis Armstrong International Airport (10 miles). See the following web link for more information about travel options to and from the airport as well as for travel to and from the French Quarter HERE. A CSA hotel block for members will be announced at a later date.


All proposals should be submitted through Easy Chair using the following link:

You do not have to be a current member to submit. If your proposal is accepted, you must become a current member of the CSA and register for the conference. These are two seperate transactions. 

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 Monday, October 15, 2018. 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 Friday, May 3, 2019. Please note: registration for the conference and membership in the CSA are separate transactions (and both are required to present).  You may register for the conference by logging in to your CSA membership account or create one 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 Michelle Fehsenfeld at Technology requests must be made by Friday, May 3, 2019.


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 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

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 lead a seminar must apply to the seminar directors by March 1, 2019. 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 April 15, 2019. 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, 2019. 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). Please direct questions about seminars to 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).


Meet the Author 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 SESSIONS: CSA has a number of ongoing working groups. 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.


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 15, 2019 to:


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, Chair of the Program Committee.