2018 Conference Announcement




2018 Theme
Cartographies of the Body: Subversions. Surveillance. Crossings.

Pressing inequalities remain a central fixture of social theory, research, activism, and everyday living. Climatological distress; racialized terror; criminal [in]justice system expansion; techniques of extractive labor practices and production; militarized borders; right-wing populist resurgence; anti-trans and -queer violence; gendered stratification; threats to indigenous sovereignty; and neocolonial formations are only broad hints to the varying oppressive regimes and inequities occurring throughout the Americas and the world. Structural analyses are important tools in which scholars and activists have come to development knowledge and resistance; however, Borderlands: A Critical Graduate Symposium 2018 will function as a space in which the body is centered, re-posited, and re-illuminated within discussions of these phenomena. Accordingly, the 3rd annual conference theme is “Cartographies of the Body: Subversion. Surveillance. Crossings.”

Theorists and artists – such as Dionne Brand, Katherine McKittrick, Cathy Cohen, Jose Esteban Muñoz, bell hooks, Juana Maria Rodriguez, Alexander Weheliye, Roderick Ferguson, Simone Browne, Lisa Lowe, Christine Sharpe, Rinaldo Walcott, and Jasbir Puar; along with discussions emerging from edited volumes like Moraga & Anzaldua (1981); Bell and Valentine (1995); Cruz-Malave and Manalansan (2002); Johnson & Henderson (2005); Haritaworn, Kuntsman, & Posocco (2014); Bakshi, Jivrai, & Posocco (2016); Ellison, Green, Richardson, & Snorton (2017) – have, in different ways, asked us to consider the importance of bodies, identity, and their residues on our mapping of the social world. Informed by these and other works, we look for submissions that engage with the following topics:

  • Sociohistorical boundary-making processes
  • Race and its inscription on bodies, especially those in transition
  • Space & place’s influence on identity construction, enactment, and embodiment
  • Settler Colonialism and its discontents
  • Rethinking migratory narratives and embodied struggles through intersectional, critical race, feminist, queer, transnational, or necropolitical lenses
  • DACAmented, UndocuQueer, and other borders (in their many iterations) and regimes of exclusion as they cross over/through/with bodies
  • Trans & queer activism, identity, history, and movements
  • Disability studies and embodiment
  • Empire and imperialism
  • Sexuality, sexual history, & spaces of queer futurity
  • Pop culture, media, and productions of race, gender, sexuality, and territory
  • Geopolitics
  • Carceral politics, policing, confinement, and the prison industrial complex
  • Trans/national kinship structures and ecologies
  • [sites of] Embodied resistance
  • Countercultures, globalization, and alternatives
  • Indigeneity, sovereignty, politics, and identity
  • AfroFuturism, AfroPessimism, and other transatlantic thoughts
  • Bodies & the Nation
  • [in]Humans, Climate change, and environmental politics

We invite contributors to submit proposals that address these ideas – and more generally, issues relating to body, identity, space, and social life – through our online form ( https://goo.gl/forms/N4EyooLU3BYyoik82 ) by January 13th, 2018 at 11:59 pm. See below for more information.

Overview of Proposals

We are looking for the following types of proposals:

  • Individual academic papers
  • Wholly constituted panels or workshops
  • Visual or performance works
  • Working group micro-sessions (new!)

More Information

Sessions will be between 1 hour and 15 minutes in length. We will make every attempt to make the conference as accessible as possible, including facilitating translations and interpreters, marking fragrance-free areas, and more. Please help us do this by detailing your proposal in ways that would allow us to make these requests in advance.

  • Individual paper submissions. Individual paper submissions will be sorted into thematic sessions by conference organizer (likely 3-4 per session). Each presenter should prepare for a 15-minute talk (average) to allow time for Q&A.
  • Workshops & wholly constituted panels. All submissions should be organized with a 1 hour and 15-minute time frame in mind. Names and contact information for each presenter will be required for submission.
  • Visual or performance works. Time and space necessities should be clearly laid out in your proposal, in addition to any A/V requests.

For further questions or concerns, please email borderlands.uconn@gmail.com. We will try to answer you as soon as possible.

“If justice depends on the “point of view from which a thing is viewed” and on “the time and location we are in,” and if justice is being recognized as human in a “white gaze” or in the gaze of those in power, then the injury slips from slavery (colonialism, segregation, lynching, ethnographic display incarceration, etc) to blackness (or being blackened) itself. How is such an injury addressed or redressed?” Excerpt from Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects by Christine Sharpe (p. 13)

If you are interested in presenting at this conference but are concerned about travel costs or various accessibility-related issues, the conference committee encourages you to submit your proposal anyway. Small travel reimbursements will be available for registered non-UConn participants who will present their work (as funds allow & following an application process). Additionally, a limited number of digital presentations can be featured within the program and subsequent sessions, with notice.

“The figure of the stranger is, thus, ontologized “as a way of being in the world”; it is “assumed to have a nature” and turned into “something that simply is.” Excerpt of Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected by Lisa Marie Cacho (p. 9, internal citations omitted)

 As a symposium centered on graduate research, the Borderlands advisory committee looks forward to proposals from graduate students, but will review submissions from other folks – like junior faculty members, undergraduate students, and community members. The abstracts and workshops may focus on any topic, but all works should bodies, embodiment, or theories of inequality, broadly. Presentations can be finished (or soon-to-be finished) papers, in-progress works, and early visions or hopes for projects. Additionally, proposals can be praxis-oriented or discussion-based workshops. Visual/performance arts submissions are also welcomed.

“Only by recognizing the link between the ideological, social, political, and economic marginalization of punks, bulldaggers, and welfare queens, can we begin to develop political analyses and political strategies effective in confronting the linked yet varied sites of power in this country” excerpt of Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics? (1997), by Cathy J. Cohen