CFP: Cultural Forms, Cultural Politics (grad) (3/1/06; 5/31/06-6/1/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Keith Feldman
contact email:

14th Annual Graduate Student Conference of the American Studies Colloquium
University of Washington, Seattle, WA
May 31-June 1, 2006

Cultural Forms, Cultural Politics

"The ultimately formative moment is the material articulation, the
activation and generation of shared sounds and words." -- Raymond

"To define a system formation in its specific individuality is to
characterize a discourse or a group of statements by the regularity of a
practice." -- Michel Foucault

This year marks the 14th annual graduate student conference of the
American Studies Colloquium at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Given the range of socio-political events that have greatly shaped
cultural forms of and about American identity politics, we are interested
in soliciting scholarship from graduate students in a variety of
disciplines (literature, history, geography, Women studies, ethnic
studies, anthropology, political science, architecture, art history and
theory, music, performance studies) that engage with some of the key lines
of inquiry currently being pursued under the rough rubric of American
Studies. This year, our organizing theme seeks to generate and bring into
dialogue critical work that broadly addresses the analytic of "form" and
its operation in both literary/cultural production, and the discursive
practices that shape political rationalities and the identities they

A number of interdisciplinary questions emerge when linking the
problematics of cultural forms and cultural politics. These question

-- Where in the historical archive can we track the relationship between
emergent cultural forms, subject formation, and political reason in order
to examine conjunctural articulations of race, empire, and liberalism?

-- Why a particular historical archive, and what conceptual labor does
such an archive perform?

-- How does the increasing reliance on the logics of "performance,"
"accountability," and "excellence" in public discourse emphasize formal
rationalities of politico-economic rule at the expense of a detailed
engagement with content and context?

-- How do we track the ways in which certain formal logics construct the
substantive possibilities of contesting discourses in the public sphere,
while also opening possibilities for dissonant cultural practices that
intervene in and potentially reshape these discourses?

-- How might taking form seriously extend and inform questions of labor
and practice--scholarly, aesthetic, political and pedagogical?

-- How has formalism as a mode of operation and rationality reemerged
precisely at a moment in which neo-liberalism as an ideology is gaining

-- Is a formalist orientation in studies of culture incompatible with an
attention to historical and social formations?

-- Are there ways to reactivate a study of form that draws on materialist
methodologies to animate its inquiry?

-- Finally, what identities have emerged from such inquiries, and how do
they negotiate with the demands of inclusion and/or exclusion in the
American imaginary (both within and beyond its geographical borders)?

Considering the above, possible paper topics include:

* Literary form and politico-economic rationality
* Popular culture and neo-liberal formations
* New political identities produced by both urban and rural spatialities
* Architectural forms and privatization
* "Formal legal equality" in race/ gender/ sexuality following the Civil Rights
* International law, human rights, and formations of global subjectivity
* New manifestations of governmentality in the 21st century
* Form, regimentation, and resistance in the realm of sexuality
* Transnational formations and the shifting terrain of diasporas
* Religious forms and cultural practices
* Identity forms that impact the fugitive and the refugee
* Improvisation and performance, form and affect

The conference's Keynote Speaker is Fred Moten, (Associate Professor of
English, University of Southern California). Prof. Moten has written
widely through both poetic and scholarly forms--often merging the
two--including In The Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition
(Minnesota, 2003), a scholarly intervention into the articulation of black
avant-garde literary and musical forms with black cultural nationalisms in
the 1950s and 60s. The conference also includes a special panel by
contributors to Keywords of American Cultural Studies, a forthcoming
volume (NYU Press, December 2006) led by Bruce Burgett (Professor,
Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington).

We hope the Colloquium will be able to offer two $250 travel stipends to
interested graduate students in order to enable increased geographic

Proposal Requirements:

1) 500-word (max) abstract of your proposed paper (as well as your full
name, discipline, level of study, and home/email address) is due by March
1st, 2006 to feldmank (at)

2) Requests for AV and consideration for travel stipends should follow
acceptance and subsequent confirmation of attendance.

Submission Deadline: March 1st, 2006

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Received on Tue Feb 07 2006 - 14:15:49 EST

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