deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Association of Postcolonial Thought and University of Michigan
contact email: 



The language of crisis suffuses current imaginings of past, present, and future. This symposium invites ambitious and expansive critical reflections on the concept of crisis and the postcolony across time and space. We welcome interdisciplinary provocations in the humanities, arts, and social sciences that offer the potential for thinking about crisis alongside forms of resilience, resistance, and collaboration.


How do we understand the crisis of postcolonial longings for freedom today when the struggles for sovereignty that inspired decolonization movements have been beset by internal and external threats to pluralism, diversity, and self-governance? How do different constituencies across the globe find common ground in the context of spiraling economic crises, capitalist extraction, climate change, territorial disputes, and racial, religious, and ethno-national conflict? How do political and cultural solidarities generate the foundation for alternative sovereignties grounded in the articulation of anti-colonial alliances? How do histories of revolution and decolonization rethink crisis?


In the face of multiple declarations of economic and ecological crises, constitutional crises and the threat to democracy, border crisis and border imperialism, how do we reimagine futurities and collectivities? How might historical forms of political sovereignty (such as those imagined by anti-colonial nationalisms) reanimate contemporary struggles for justice and calls for solidarities (ranging, for example, across the anti-apartheid movement, the anti-Iraq War movement, advocacy of Indigenous rights, Immigrants Peoples Movement, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, the Prison Abolition Movement, and the Movement for Black Lives)?


Papers may engage crisis as metaphor, epistemology, or ontology; they may historicize current declarations of crisis or theorize new forms of understanding turning points and societal upheavals. What are the temporalities and spatialities of declarations of crises? How do we engage comparative methods and disciplines in crisis today, especially amid the global pandemic’s impact on thinking itself? We welcome new modes of theorizing crises of sovereignty, of transmissions, of ecologies, of publics, and much more. Topics may include borderlands, class struggle, community activism and labor movements, critical race and caste theories, environmentalism, gender, feminist, and sexuality studies, migration and diaspora, deterritorialization, place (eg. Detroit-Dearborn), posthumanism, regionalism, religion and the state. Participants are encouraged to think outside and across disciplinary boundaries, from diverse geopolitical locations, and via unexpected methods and tactics.


The symposium, hosted by Salah D. Hassan (Michigan State University) and Supriya M. Nair (University of Michigan), will take place September 29-30, 2023, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. This event is the second in a sequence planned by the Association of Postcolonial Thought and is aimed at fostering the future of the field. Please submit an abstract of 750-1000 words and a brief bio to Abstracts are due March 31, 2023, and should be sent as a single Word document or PDF with the file name lastname.firstname. Submissions will be reviewed by a program committee (Sakiru Adebayo [University of British Columbia], Yogita Goyal [UCLA], Angela Naimou [Clemson University], and Stéphane Robolin [Rutgers University]) and decisions will be sent by May 1. Registration fees are not required.