Interrogating Colonization and New Politics, April 4th and 5th, 2014

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Bowling Green State University, Literary and Textual Studies Program
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"It is generally recognized that the current era of globalization is one in which economics has triumphed over politics." - Brett Neilson, "Cultural Studies and Giorgio Agamben," New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory

For much of the history of imperialism, nation-states have been understood to be the primary agents and aggressors. And yet, from the U.S.'s annexation of Hawai'i in 1898 to contemporary elections, corporations have had a heavy hand in national and international politics. Recent events such as the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United underscore this shift in the location of political power. If contemporary politics is defined by the agency of (frequently multinational, technologically omnipresent) corporate bodies seeking to influence democratic votes, how ought we redefine imperialism, colonization, and globalization? What does democracy even mean in this context? The interests of private entities and the tools of Big Data have converged to change the nature of politics and the forms of colonization. As a consequence, older methods of national division and identification, such as state borders, may not mean what they once did. What are the goals and methods of this new politics? How does it challenge or efface the limits implied by state borders? What sort of subjects does this new political landscape seek to produce and how does it interpellate its subjects? On the other hand, how are state governments continuing to assert hegemony and monitor bodies in the digital era? A reconceptualization of globalization is necessary for us to better gain a sense of how our collective and independent actions and roles are tied to ideologies related to evolving global practices.

This graduate conference seeks paper, panel, or creative submissions that will contribute to, interrogate, and challenge this new era in politics, imperialism, and corporatization. We are interested in submissions that consider the material circumstances that shape various subjects' and constituencies' interpellation into neo-colonial politics. How might more traditional analyses of globalization challenge, or be challenged by, changing forms of colonization? Moreover, what value do long-established theoretical approaches such as psychoanalysis, feminism, Marxism, and queer theory have in these debates? . This conference welcomes submissions from literary, cultural, or ethnic studies perspectives, as well as from other fields in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

What borders exist in the digital era? How are boundaries of cultural difference established?

What ethical responsibilities are demanded of us as "experiencing beings" living in the era of globalization?

How does globalization impact (meta)physical borders and language (i.e. nations and ethnic regions)?

As a "society of consumers," in Zygmunt Bauman's words, spreads beyond individual nation-states, who or what, is doing the "globalizing," and how does this affect social and cultural practices?

What affects does globalization have on "the nation" and/or its subjects?

How can one define "neo-colonialism"? Who, or what, is doing the colonizing?

What motivates human migration in this era? What are contemporary sites of and reasons for human migration? What new patterns are emerging from this new geo-politics?

What do canonical texts and contemporary revisions (such as Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea) indicate about the motivations of politics in their eras?

How do nation-states continue to spread their influence in the age of Big Data?

Our conference will be held on April 4th and 5th at Bowling Green State University.

For questions and submissions, please contact us at

Submissions are due by March 1st at 11:59 pm