Call for Papers: ‘Utopian Spaces’
הערת מערכת רמה: רלוונטי לסוגיות ישראליות
Graduate Conference, Simon Fraser University
November 23-25, 2018
Deadline for Submissions: August 31, 2018
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: GEOFF MANN, AJAMU NANGWAYA, SHERRYL VINT
PLENARY PANEL: PATRICIA BARKASKAS, TIFFANY MULLER MYRDAHL, JERRY ZASLOVE; MODERATOR KIM BEAUCHESNE
Contours Journal and the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University invite proposals on the theme of ‘Utopian Spaces.’ For this upcoming interdisciplinary graduate conference, we hope to reinvigorate conceptions of the often stigmatized category of utopia – the notion that things could be otherwise, the collective desire for a radical alternative – as they pertain to social space. We invite speakers to explore instances of utopian speculation and problem-solving and their significance in a wider historical context.
We can look to the past and the present for concrete applications of the utopian: from the Paris Commune of 1871 and Red Vienna, to ‘Global 1968,’ to the recent mass uprisings in Tahrir Square and Gezi Park; from the citizenship schools of the US civil rights movement, to the Black Panthers’ provision of social services and communal self-defence in Oakland, CA, to the Black Lives Matter movement, or the Jackson Plan in Jackson, MS. We can consider the current rise of indigenous-led activism: the Idle No More movement, artistic projects (such as REDress) about the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women, and resistance to the construction and expansion of pipelines, exemplified by the re-occupations of the Unist’ot’en camp, Camp Cloud, the Kwekwecnewtxw Watch House, and the Tiny House Warriors in BC. Meanwhile, utopian demands have surfaced in a variety of feminist struggles: the social media fury of #MeToo, or the boots on the ground, revolutionary feminist socialism in Rojava and of the ELZN in Chiapas.
What all these movements of resistance arguably have in common is a utopian contestation of social space, where alternative spaces and lines of flight are projected and constructed in response to systemic forms of injustice and oppression. We propose to think utopia in spatial terms, and space in utopian terms, allowing for the elucidation of transformative potentialities. Yet the utopian space or enclave is just as likely to veer into dystopia. Utopia and dystopia coexist, interact, and conflict, reflecting unmet needs and desires. We are therefore interested in the convergences and tensions between the utopian and dystopian, in terms of both existent and envisioned representations of such spaces.
We would like to frame utopian spaces in relation to the following clusters:
- Occupied Spaces: Historically, what unique forms of resistance have reclaimed space and provided pathways for praxis? What can we learn from the successes and failures of Occupy Wall Street and subsequent ‘Occupy’ incarnations such as Occupy ICE, or the ongoing blockades by France’s Zone to Defend (ZAD) communities? How is colonial … read more