Call for Paper Abstracts for Proposed Panels

Troubling Whiteness: Complicity, Fragility, and Ethics

Organizer/Contact: Jong Bum Kwon, jongkwon00@webster.edu (Webster University)

Whiteness has become an object of both unapologetic mobilizing and visible public concern. From the killing of Mike Brown (one of many dead black and brown bodies) and acquittal of Darren Wilson to the election of Donald Trump and the Charlottesville “Unite the Right Rally,” the surge in nativism, the opioid crisis (a war on drugs that wasn’t), “whiteness” has come to index for many the disquiet as well as the vulnerable of these times. “Whiteness”, however, is slippery. Whiteness is often characterized as a structural position of social advantage and power reproduced in part by misrecognition by its beneficiaries. It is said to be unmarked, invisible, the norm. As an object of critique, it often remains abstract as “system” or “institution,” and it is susceptible to conflation with white “race” (or ethnicity) or “culture”. This panel seeks to complicate whiteness and open discussion to various conceptualizations, methodologies, ethnographic analyses.

Latin American Transnational Feminisms: Apuntes desde la academia en sororidad

Organizers/Contact: Natalia Guzmán Solano, guzmansolano.natalia@wustl.edu (Washington University in St. Louis) and Francesca Dennstedt (Washington University in St. Louis)

Throughout the Americas we are living through a moment driven by queer and women’s joint resistance to right-wing fundamentalist politics and oppression attempting a return to a status quo that has only been possible on the backs of subjugated gendered and racialized populations. #NiUnaMenos, #EleNão, #MeToo, las pañoletas verdes, among other movements, are examples of the demand to be seen, heard, and reckoned with. In these instances of mobilized resistance we understand how, alongside our differences, we share the communal pain of gendered violence. Nos están matando rings with a particularly urgent and personal force because to enunciate “feminicide” (Sanford 2008; Segato 2013), as well as homo- and transphobic hate killings, is to interrupt the patriarchal logics that undergird the “necropolitics” of alleged democratic nation-states (Mbembe 2003). This panel seeks to expand our frames of reference by considering what solidarity with our compañerxs means across the multi-layered professions, fields, and social positions each one holds. We take seriously what commitment looks like from within the academy as one form of localized activism. Specifically, we ask: how are we through our commitments expanding the language of feminism toward communal practices cemented by sorority?

Locating Urban Futures: Ethnographic Engagements with Cities & Environments In-the-Making

Organizers/Contact: Megan Maurer, meg.maurer@gmail.com (The Earth Institute, Columbia University) and Kristin Monroe (University of Kentucky)

Around the world, the future of urban environments is growing increasingly uncertain. The effects of growing city size and urban population, as well as climate change impacts like extreme weather and sea-level rise, exert pressures on urban environments, ecologies, and infrastructures. Meanwhile, political instability and violent conflict result in the destruction of urban environments, and rising rates of social inequality fuel contestations over policy priorities and resource access and distribution. In these and so many more ways, the urban seems headed toward crisis. In response to the deep anxieties of the current socio-ecological moment, however, cities continue to be sites of possibility, as everyone from politicians to technocrats, oligarchs to activists to everyday city-dwellers create —alongside myriad nonhuman inhabitants and constituents—new urban futures. What do these futures look like? How are urban environments being newly imagined, engaged and challenged? In this panel we seek to bring together urban researchers working at the nexus of environments and futures and invite scholars to develop a discussion of ethnography in and of cities as a tool for understanding our current socio-ecological moment.

Methods on Digital Ethnographies: Queer of Color Imaginations of Pleasure & Practice

Organizers/Contact: Breanna Escamilla, bse3@illinois.edu (U of Illinois), Paul Michael Atienza (U of Illinois), Chibundo Egwuatu (U of Illinois)

The multimodality of digital media necessitates the reframing of the methodological practices that comb at the intimacies of meaning in digital fieldwork/sites, the ethnographer, space/time, and collaborative place-making. As ethnographers of digital spaces, the framing of the self encapsulated through text and images shapes the saliency of digital narratives/lives. Digital spaces are often interpreted as public spaces thus always framed in whiteness. How do we negotiate our private selves doing “public” work? We center queer/of color differences in researcher profiles, group representation, and ethnographic interaction as we navigate the messiness. Thus, work on digital spaces requires minoritarian perspectives and critiques that make ethical engagements toward scales of engagements throughout the process of research formulation.