Fugitive Futures: Graduate Students of Color Un-Settling the University

deadline for submissions: 
November 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Ethnic and Third World Literatures at UT



18th Annual Sequels Symposium
Fugitive Futures: Graduate Students of Color Un-Settling the University

Keynote Speaker: Saidiya Hartman

February 28 - March 2, 2019 - The University of Texas at Austin

The Global South Collective in collaboration with the Ethnic and Third World Literatures concentration at UT Austin are seeking proposals for the 18th Annual Sequels Symposium entitled “Fugitive Futures: Graduate Students of Color Un-Settling the University.” The symposium will be held at the University of Texas at Austin, from February 28th to March 2nd, 2019.


“...the subversive intellectual came under false pretenses….Her labor is as necessary as it is unwelcome. The university needs what she bears but cannot bear what she brings”

—  Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study

The modern university has been a space committed to rhetorics of diversity and inclusion; however, these rhetorics often obscure the university’s role in undermining the radical work of faculty and students of color. Nevertheless, this radical work persists. Graduate students of color and faculty continue to organize around their scholarship, pedagogy, activism, creative practices, and community building. Furthermore, their efforts chafe against the university’s tendency to undermine and marginalize dissident voices. The efforts of graduate students of color produce communities of solidarity, healing, and radical praxis.

This symposium is part of the shared intellectual labor of colleagues within the Ethnic and Third World Literatures concentration at UT Austin, whose critical scholarship has continued to engage anti-colonial revolutionary possibilities over and above orthodox postcolonial studies. The Global South Collective, an interdisciplinary graduate student group, also share this creative and intellectual energy. Their collective labor in unsettling the disciplining logics of the academy have been essential in conceptualizing this symposium. The Global South Collective as well as this conference are both in part inspired by the intellectual and emotional labor of The Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Graduate Group at the University of Minnesota, and a conference they organized in the spring of 2017 entitled “Seditious Acts.” Fugitive Futures’ organizers view this symposium as an opportunity to continue the inspirational energies of the symposium at UMN. 

Fugitive Futures takes up Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s claim that the only possible relationship to the university today is a criminal one. That subversive work in modern universities happens in the “undercommons” and the core of all dissident acts stems from the imperative to “sneak into the university and steal what one can.” Collectively, we ask: how might we negotiate our precarious positions in the university, and what are the stakes of articulating ourselves as “fugitives” in relation to the academy? Though futures speculates (un)imagined relationships to the university, it also questions the logic of optimism and its valences of progress.

In addition to more formally academic work, this symposium is dedicated to centering the personal writing and testimony of graduate students of color as a means of community building, decolonizing knowledge production, and demystifying the academy’s hidden curricula. We invite work that engages with themes such as, but not limited to:


  • Decolonizing knowledge production

  • Crisis of uneven intellectual labor between those working on the global south and more canonical areas of study

  • Departures from Western genealogies of literature, theory, and pedagogies

  • Fugitive, criminal maroon and thieving relationships to the university

  • Relationalities between metropole and peripheries towards identity construction

  • Global south-south circuits and solidarities

  • Intersectional methodologies and alternative pedagogies and research practices

  • Academic ventriloquism and the politics of legibility

  • Professionalizing/ “playing by the rules" logic of graduate programs

  • Imposter syndrome,Mental health and emotional labor

  • Practices of surviving the university

  • Organizing and activism

  • Encouraging goodwill, trust and emotional health in scholarly communities

  • How to practice, facilitate, and imagine scholarly insurgency in the academy

  • How to build noninstitutional support for those invested in decolonizing knowledge production, research, and pedagogy

  • Self-advocacy

  • Decolonizing/restructuring archives

Submit individual (300 word description max) or collaborative proposals (400 word description max) and bio (up to 100 words per participant) by the extended deadline of November 15, 2018 via SUBMISSION FORM. https://goo.gl/forms/EwTASlGOyLVnn5t13

Please indicate if you have specific accessibility needs.

For more questions, please contact the co-organizers: Gabriella Rodriguez (gabriella.rodriguez@utexas.edu) and Amrita Mishra (amrita.mishra@utexas.edu)