Monday, February 1, 2010

Call for Papers: York University Graduate Conference on 'The Future' (Abstracts due 2/12)

Strategies of Critique XXIV: The Future (TBD)
Graduate Program in Social & Political Thought
York University, Toronto
April 9-10, 2010

“Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won’t be nothing, nothing you can measure any more...”
– Leonard Cohen, “The Future”

To be determined, decided, divined, denied, decried, delighted – however we anticipate the future, we’re heading toward it, shaping and being shaped by whatever’s coming. The future is nothing if not uncertain: if we turn to face it, we run the risk of losing our bearings. Visions of catastrophe are shot through with glimmers of hope; old injustices and present-day suffering seem endless; social movements demand an alternative future. Meanwhile, back in the political-economic casino, “late” capitalism just keeps getting later, its managers glued to the slots while the floodwaters rise. How might critical thought engage with – or disengage from – the political, social, libidinal, economic and cultural order that claims a monopoly on the future? Are we still able to place a collective wager on the future of theory, the future of political action, and the future of the university as a space of critique?

In these murky waters, Strategies of Critique XXIV hopes to chart a course toward a future that remains to be defined. Of course, no course runs true. Thinking about the future makes thought itself slide in all directions, toward the multiple futures of race, labour, gender, art, sexuality, ecology, philosophy, and technology. The future zigzags through past and present: any effort to think “the future” intertwines with questions of history, temporality, desire, failure, prediction, memory, crisis and hope. “The Future (TBD)” offers a space in which to think these and other relationships, and to link that thought to specific activist projects, each aiming for a future different from the infinite repetition of the present.

The slipperiness of the future (or futures) suggests the need for a gathering that is also in some way “to be determined.” Strategies of Critique welcomes and encourages you to submit one or more of the following:

a) an abstract for a traditional (or untraditional) 15-minute presentation;
b) a proposal for a joint presentation or dialogue;
c) a statement (where are you coming from, what are you interested in?) that outlines your participation in a facilitated roundtable discussion (4-8 participants).

Possible panel/roundtable topics include but are not limited to:

Changing Everything: Sex, Sexuality and Gender
Future Tense and Tense Futures: Nationalisms and Securities
Race to the future and the future of Race
Progress Without Future/Future Without Progress
The Day After Tomorrow: Ecology and Economy
Working Toward What? The Future of Labour and Labour Movements
After-Parties: Catastrophes and Utopias
The Next Big Thing: Art and Consumer Culture
Continuity and Disruption (How Soon is Now?)
Technological Reason 2.0: Social Networking, Online Gaming, and other Avatars
Future Community and Communities
Final Essays: Education and the University in the Twenty-First Century
Back to the Future: Remembering, Repeating, Working-Through
Future Bodies, Future Desires, Future Identities
Geopolitics/Micropolitics of the Future
What Is (Still) To Be Done?
Wheels of Fortune: Bubbles, Banks and Bad Bets
Forecasting, Linearity, Determinism, Eschatology
Past the Post: After Theory?
The Angel of History

Abstracts (max 250 words), proposals and all queries should be sent to The deadline for submissions is February 12, 2010.

Strategies of Critique is an annual interdisciplinary graduate conference hosted by the Graduate Program in Social & Political Thought at York University, Toronto, Canada.

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