New Directions in Critical Theory: Borders, Power, Community-- April 30-May 1 2010

full name / name of organization: 
New Directions in Critical Theory
contact email: 

New Directions in Critical Theory
April 30-May 1, 2010
The University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

New Directions in Critical Theory: Borders, Power, Community

"Borderlands, contrary to frontiers, are no longer the lines where civilization and barbarism meet and divide, but the location where a new consciousness . . . emerges."
—2010 New Directions Keynote Walter Mignolo
(From "Globalization, Civilization, and Languages")

The 2010 New Directions in Critical Theory conference, an annual interdisciplinary conference organized by graduate students at the University of Arizona, seeks papers, panels, and presentations that focus on issues regarding borders, power, and community. These concepts have seen increased exposure in academic and public spheres due to the rapid rate of globalization, and the pressure globalization puts on communities, such as the pressure to define and protect their integrity at intersections of the local, national, and international.

While the connections among borders, power, and community can be useful in theory, they can be problematic in practice, leading to such diverse questions as: In what ways do shared communities create, and perhaps constrain, one's identity (gendered, sexual, racial, ethnic, etc.)? How does one define borders within one's profession or discipline, and how does this definition inform one's practice? How might the border between written and visual production influence one's work? How do the implicit/explicit borders shared by the local, the global, and the institutional influence research methods? How have you used your poetry/creative writing to complicate, define, and/or deconstruct a border concept? How has your community organization responded to implicit/explicit cultural and/or institutional borders?

We invite papers and panels that attempt to address these questions and questions like them; we also invite presentations such as round-table discussions, short play readings, poetry readings, performance art or installations, community projects, etc., that open dialogue among various disciplines.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
• Borderlands and literature
• Borders in ethnographic study
• Border thinking
• Borderlands in postcolonial literature and theory
• Decolonizing practices and epistemologies within and external to the university
• Geopolitics of knowledge production
• Cultural studies
• Border pedagogies
• Border rhetorics
• Gender studies
• Mestizo/a identities
• Spatial rhetoric
• Borders in an historical/psychological context
• Borders within and among communities
• Borders and community in journalism

Please submit 100-250 word individual abstracts, or panel proposals consisting of a 100-250 word panel abstract and 100-250 word individual abstracts for each presentation. Include names, email addresses, mailing addresses, institutional affiliations, technology requests, paper titles, and abstracts by December 15th, 2009 to New Directions Co-Chairs at

We are pleased to announce the following Keynote Speaker:

Walter Mignolo
William H. Wannamaker Professor of Literature and Romance Studies
Duke University

"Coloniality and de-coloniality of knowledge has been one of my permanent and central concerns. Lately, and as a consequence of understanding the rhetoric of modernity and the logic of coloniality, I have been reflecting on the grammar of de-coloniality… I have investigated different and seemingly interrelated issues, from history and cartography to religion and political theory, from Latin America to Europe and post-Soviet societies; from Indigenous to Latino/as and Afros in the Americas. In the end, I am a semiotician who abandoned semiotics as a discipline to read the word, the signs and the world."

Ashley Holmes, Regina Kelly, Jonathan LaGuardia, Katie Silvester, Reena Thomas, and Cassie Wright
New Directions 2010 Co-Chairs
University of Arizona