Disasters, Crises, and the Politics of Recreation--A Seminar/Panel at ACLA 2010 (New Orleans April 1-4), subm. deadline, Nov. 13
Certain conditions have defined the beginning of the 21st century: imperialist war for control of the Middle East and Afghanistan, super exploitation of labor and global resources like the food crisis of 2008, deep-rooted racism and sexism, and the conspicuous disparity between the voraciousness of corporate accumulation and the deprivation of basic necessities of entire populations, as the environmental catastrophe of Katrina and the recent capitalist crisis reveals. Contrary to the "naturalist" interpretation of these conditions, we can see that disasters and crises are not innate features of human society, but the outcome of systemic conditions that continually work against the conceptual parameters of humanity itself, making it the objective of artists, writers, and activists to "écriture" and "éreclaim" space for collectivity.
Keeping the above description in mind, our objective in this panel is to map the dialectic of disaster/recreation in the hopes of rethinking the possibilities of collective reorganization and renewal. Some of the themes and issues the panel intends to address are: collective responses to war, dispossession, and catastrophe; intellectual responsibility and engagement; discontinuity, hybridity, and political effect; local/global shifts in political consciousness in the wake of crises; critiques of contrmporary forms of institutional politics and ruling-class authority.