'How does it feel to be the problem?' Brownness and Being in the 21st Century

deadline for submissions: 
June 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
PAMLA/Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association

This roundtable will be held in-person at the 2023 PAMLA conference in Portland, Oregon. The exact day and time is TBD. The conference dates, however, are Oct 26-29, 2023.


This panel takes its title from Moustafa Bayoumi's cultural collection How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America. Brownness as a state of being is not limited to a specific culture or geography, it is a collective experience shared by (yet not limited to) Muslim, Arab, South Asian, Indigenous, Latin American, Caribbean, and African peoples--each with distinct meanings. Racism, nonetheless, often does not make such distinctions.

Potential topics might draw on themes of migration including its policies, regulations, and enforcement; borders; policing; media (mis)representations; and xenophobic discourse(s). The aim of the panel is to highlight the means by which such nefarious ideologies and practices are increasingly internalized by individuals and communities that share the collective experience of brownness in their homeland and/or the diaspora.

This panel hopes to bring together the voices of seemingly disparate communities in order to write back collectively against imperialist and capitalist world systems. In this sense of community, we hope that such voices generate solidarity throughout various lines of oppression.

In addition to traditional papers, this panel is open to creative submissions. We understand that creative writing can often best mediate personal experience(s) -- if applicable.

Please email a 200-400 word proposal by June 30th to both michael.d.williamson94@gmail.com AND joymazahreh@gmail.com