CSA 2014- “Ecologies: Relations of Culture, Matter, and Power”

The Cultural Studies Association has announced the theme for their May 2014 conference, “Ecologies: Relations of Culture, Matter, and Power“:

Call for Proposals for the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Cultural Studies Association (US)

Ecologies: Relations of Culture, Matter, and Power

University of Utah, Salt Lake City May 29-31, 2014

The Cultural Studies Association (CSA) invites proposals from its current and future members for participation in its twelfth annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Everyone cares about the environment these days, but what does it mean to speak of ecology? Network and systems theories suggest complex approaches to questions of culture and ecology. Assemblage theories explode stable conceptions of locality, sociality, and the human. We speak of programming environments, learning environments, media ecologies, organizational ecologies, digital ecologies, ecologies of resistance, ecologies of play, flows of information, nodal points of power, and open-source ecologies of collaboration and collective action. We mobilize ecological discourse as a means of understanding and challenging the material formations of power that discipline raced, gendered, sexed, and classed bodies. These discourses and processes create an ecology of meaning that informs how we talk about and understand our environments.

The theme of the 2014 Cultural Studies Association meeting, “Ecologies: Relations of Culture, Matter, and Power,” prompts inquiries into how environmental factors and ecological discourses shape conceptions of culture, matter, and power, and how these factors and discourses are shaped by forces of history and globalization. The theme also invites us to re-imagine the gathering as an ecology in its own right: an assemblage of cultural critics and producers. This year’s conference aims to provide 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. While formal academic papers will be accepted, we encourage contributors to experiment with alternative formats that challenge traditional disciplinary formations or exclusionary conceptions of the academic.

Proposals from all areas and on all topics of relevance to cultural studies are welcome, but preference will be given to proposals that critically and creatively engage this year’s theme. Proposal topics might include, but should not be limited to:

  • The hybridization of ecology discourses: environmental activism, media ecology, organizational ecologies, social ecology, systems theories, spatial surveillance, etc.;
  • The cultural ecology of textual production, consumption, and interpretation;
  • Ecological perspectives on privatization, imperialism, racial hierarchies, global capitalism, etc.;
  • Queer, indigenous, activist, anti-capitalist, transgender, postcolonial and/or materialist perspectives on ecology;
  • Post-humanist, object-oriented, or actor-network ontologies, epistemologies, methodologies, and case studies;
  • Interpretive possibilities raised by ecology and the challenge of cultural materialism;
  • The “greening” of specific disciplines, fields and institutions, its implications, and its continued silences;
  • Pedagogical reflections, institutional ecologies, and ecologies of learning;
  • “Natural” disasters, privatization, waste, environmental inequality, and the displacement of industrialism;
  • Ecological foundations or justifications for new forms of surveillance, management, and control;
  • Collectives, nodes, networks, flows, vectors, circuits, and other models that de-center the autonomous individual;
  • Proliferation of synergistic and ecological discourses as reactionary requirements of late capitalism;
  • Sustainability and discourses of the future;
  • The invisible information ecology of data collection (e.g. the data collection center the NSA is building in Utah);
  • Digital environments and built spaces;
  • Bodily interactions with environmental elements (food, water, air, flows of energy);
  • Food justice and the politics of ingestion;
  • New modes of scholarship and activism that attempt to address questions of ecology;
  • Analysis that reflects upon the context of its case study or studies;
  • and Any other topic relevant to the theme.

All sessions run for 90 minutes and will have access to basic audiovisual equipment (projector, speakers, and internet connection). Sessions that require additional space or technical equipment may request reasonable accommodations from the organizing committee, but accommodations are contingent upon the availability of resources and equipment. Special requests should be included as a note in the body of the initial submission.

Additionally, please note that all session organizers must be CSA members for the 2014 calendar year at the time of submission.

As at past CSA conferences, we welcome proposals from a range of disciplinary and topical positions, including literature, history, sociology, geography, politics, anthropology, communication(s), popular culture, cultural theory, queer studies, critical race studies, feminist studies, post-colonial studies, legal studies, science studies, media and film studies, material cultural studies, platform studies, visual art and performance studies. We particularly encourage submissions from individuals working beyond the boundaries of the university: artists, activists, independent scholars, professionals, community organizers, or K-12 and community college educators.

About the University of Utah and Salt Lake City

This year’s conference is hosted by the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Located on a beautiful 1,534 acre campus two miles east of downtown Salt Lake City, the University of Utah has been nationally recognized for its sustainability efforts, which include the installation of solar ivy panels and a commitment to renewable energy. The University currently houses the J. Willard Marriott Library, the Jon M. Huntsman Center, the Utah Museum of Natural History, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and Red Butte Garden and Arboretum, and was one of the original four ARPANET nodes. Recently named by The Advocate as the gayest city in America, Salt Lake City is home to the Sundance Film Festival, Utah Symphony and Opera, The Leonardo, Capitol Theatre, Temple Square, Clark Planetarium, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Olympic Cauldron Park, and a vibrant local art and music scene.

Submission Deadline and Process

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

The submission system will be open in November, 2013. Please prepare all the materials required to propose your session according to the given directions before you begin electronic submission. Notification of acceptance will be given in February of 2014.


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