Presentations

Schedule

Each panel will take place at the Center for Global Inquiry + Innovation, 1 West Range, Hotel A. The Keynote Address will be at Nau Hall, 101.

Thursday, April 6

2:00-3:45 p.m.:                  I. Vernaculars of Law and Violence

4:00-5:45 p.m.:                  II. Bordering on War

8:00 p.m.:                            Keynote Address

Friday, April 7

9:00-10:45 a.m.:                III. Properties of Property

11:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m.:   IV. Re-Thinking Sovereignty and Self-Determination

2:30-4:15 p.m.:                  V. Humanities at the Margins

4:30-5:00 p.m.:                  Closing Comments

I. Vernaculars of Law and Violence: It is by now well-acknowledged that law is not the opposite of violence, but one of its instruments, sources, and regulating idioms. It is also widely recognized that the law is multivocal and plural—and hence this panel turns to vernaculars of law and violence rather than a single law or a singular act of violence. How does the law structure, orient, naturalize, perpetuate, mitigate or transform different formations of conflict? And how do specific forms of conflict produce or transform the law? What are the sites of law and violence—juridical, sovereign, affective, institutional, textual—and how do their multiple existences and scales—local, regional, global—meet or collide? How, for example, do appeals to the law or to specific laws authorize some kinds of violence while concealing others, and how are national or imperial laws re-tooled in extending domination, exclusion, oppression, inequality, apartheid, ghettoization, or the disposability of specific lives, classes, groups, or worlds?

II. Bordering on War: The ruling neighborhood, the capital, the state, and the empire predicated their internal order on pushing war to their borders. And yet, the distinction between war and peace, as Fanon famously said, does not prevail in the colony. Scholars across the humanities have taken up such lines of inquiry to the colony, postcolony, metropole, and beyond. What is the geography of war? How is war written into everyday practices and institutions, or into exceptional moments? How is war normalized, how do its discourses of exceptionalism, criminality, or futurity operate? How have different groups or thinkers across the globe navigated the borders of war, from its representations to its relationship to, for example, space, mobility, demographics, and other institutions?

III. Properties of Property: Under the sign of the commodity, the body and person of the slave, the labor of the peasant and worker, and the land of the colony and of the settler-colony intersect with the flows of capital. What constitutes different kinds of property, and what are the properties of property? How have understandings of the body, land, labor, or property as a commodity inflected other political ideas, practices, and modes of thinking in the Global South? What alternatives do they see or open up? How might the social life of commodities bring together or separate these contexts together?

IV. Rethinking Sovereignty & Self-Determination: In this panel, we are interested in different concepts of sovereignty that have challenged colonial and postcolonial authority alongside claims to rule made by or on behalf of people figured as natives, slaves, prisoners, Orientals, or peasants. We invite speakers to critically reflect on sovereignty and any host of related ideas, like self-determination, self-rule, protection and obedience, the state- or non-state form, or the exception. If sovereignty was once conventionally understood as the goal and terminus of political organization, what is its history and form in writing the politics of specific groups, like the colonized, formerly enslaved, indigenous, or postcolonial? What, if any, are the emancipatory features of the language of self-determination, and in what ways was it deployed to limit the possibilities and trajectories of the colonized? Who is the self of self-determination, and who determines its boundaries? While national self-determination is often presumed to be coeval with the end of empire, we welcome presentations that trouble such histories, that consider alternate vocabularies of liberation and emancipation, that explore and reconceive myths of transnational solidarity, or that think beyond the (post)colonial nation-state.

V. Humanities at the Margins: How were bodies of knowledge—from the social sciences to humanistic understandings of “tradition” to the “global humanities”—formed not simply to write the histories of other places, but as an expression of control over them? How, in turn, have these bodies of knowledge offered an emancipatory potential or opened up alternative political geographies, futurities, and imagined forms of belonging and solidarity? What, for the Global South, is a political thinker, and what is the relationship between thought and action? This panel will address the comparisons and distinctions that colonizers produced in thinking about, rearranging, and ruling over the colonized, examine how these comparisons emerge out of the colonies, and ask how they haunt academic inquiry today. How do contemporary humanistic formations foreclose, curtail, or enable efforts to go beyond Europe and empire or rethink their legacies? Papers will trace how these comparisons and distinctions persist in contemporary disciplinary formations and specializations and suggest how theorizing might be practiced otherwise.