Concourse: 10/08/17


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Travel Grant Funded Cultural Studies Association (CSA) Conference - Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA May 31-June 2, 2018

This Year's Theme: Interventions

The Cultural Studies Association (CSA) invites proposals from its members for participation in its sixteenth annual meeting. You must be a member to submit, but we always welcome new members and encourage past members to renew their membership. Proposals on all topics of relevance to cultural studies with be considered, with priority given to proposals that critically and creatively engage this year's highlighted theme.

For our 2018 conference, “Interventions,” we solicit proposals that intervene in the theory, practice, teaching, or conception of cultural studies. We are also interested in how cultural studies itself intervenes in existing social, cultural, and political formations. Cultural studies is poised to play a key role in how we understand our fraught politics, fragile environment, and fragmented economy.

We wonder, as we look back at the legacy of what Stuart Hall called the First New Left, if it is time for something like a new socialist project? Greece’s Syriza, Spain’s Podemos, and the Democratic Socialists of America all signal potential energy for new economic models. But Brexit, Trump, and the resurgence of reactionary ethnonationalism alert us to the fact that empty calls for intervention are often answered by the basest forms of cultural repression. Additionally, a vast array of social struggles do not find any place within the current economic frame. These emancipatory movements--anti-racism, anti-imperialism, anti-war, the New Left, second-wave feminism, LGBT liberation, multiculturalism, and so on--emerged at roughly the same time as the field of cultural studies, and it is through cultural studies that we might intervene to claim space for them. As highlighted by tensions within the 2016 Democratic primaries and general election in the U.S. over the intersection of class- and identity-based politics, the intervention of emancipation is as unfinished as the welfare state is diminished by the “neoliberal revolution” (Hall). Today’s counter-hegemonic movements face some of the same impasses, but with a new urgency; now more than ever, we need an intellectual intervention to help craft new tactics and strategies, to generate new syntheses of economic protection and political and cultural emancipation, and to draw on the lessons of the past and build solidarity for the future.  

This year’s Cultural Studies Association conference will follow a one-day symposium on Wednesday, May 30th, hosted by the Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon entitled “Karl Marx at 200: The Future of Capitalism and Cultural Studies.” We invite CSA members to attend the symposium, which features a lineup of established Marxism/Cultural Studies scholars who have been invited to circulate pre-written papers for the event. We hope this will provide an opportunity to use the bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth to think about the role of culture in capitalism and how culture resists and reshapes the economy, as well as the contemporary relevance of Marx’s intervention and the role of Marxism in what Hall called “Cultural Studies and its theoretical legacies.” The CSA conference extends these themes beyond Marxism specifically to consider the intervention of cultural studies in general and the intellectual and creative labor of cultural studies in particular. How does culture construct, contest, and constitute new capital formations? How does it intervene in economic conditions in multiple and heterogeneous ways? Conversely, what is the role of the economy in shaping culture? What is the role of cultural studies as critical praxis in the present economic time?

Topics that might be addressed include but are not limited to:
  • The privilege of interventions; what it means to intervene
  • The materiality and spatiality of intervening
  • Work and labor--public intellectual work, physical labor, post-industrial labor, the work of culture
  • The culture industry and creative labor
  • Social media campaigns and their relationship to so-called real world interventions
  • Media interventions, fake news, and resistance to/ reinforcement of current hegemonic forces
  • Intersections of intellectuals and activists
  • Revolution or reform? Socialism or barbarism?
  • Art and social action
  • Literary, cinematic, and other textual interventions
  • Capitalism, culture, and technology
  • Strike! Riot! Strike!
  • The politics of anti-fascism
  • Historically specific interventions for equality and justice
  • Pedagogies of cultural studies
  • Interventions in sustainability, climate change, and the environment
  • Market-led globalization and cultural resistance
  • Securitization and militarization; the threat of the nuclear option
  • Nation-making, nationalism, and rethinking the national form
  • Immigration and the movement of people across national borders within the U.S. and globally
  • The movement for Black Lives and its intervention in media, culture, and the academy.

We welcome proposals from scholars from any discipline, inter-discipline, or scholarly field. The CSA aims to provide multiple and diverse spaces for the cross-pollination of art, activism, pedagogy, design, and research by bringing together participants from a variety of positions inside and outside the university. Therefore, while we welcome traditional academic papers and panels, we also encourage contributions that experiment with alternative formats and intervene in the traditional disciplinary formations and exclusionary conceptions and practices of the academic (see session format options listed below). We are particularly interested in proposals for sessions designed to document and advance existing forms of collective action or catalyze new collaborations. We encourage submissions from individuals working beyond the boundaries of the university: artists, activists, independent scholars, professionals, community organizers, and community college educators.

Important Dates:

Friday, October 13, 2017: Submission System Opens (Membership and Registration also open. You must be a member to submit!)

Friday, February 16, 2018: Last Date for Submissions

Friday, March 2, 2018: Notifications Sent Out

Friday, April 20, 2018: Early Registration Ends and Late Registration Begins (Registration fees increase by $50 for all categories.)

Friday, May 11, 2018: Last day to register to participate in the conference--your name will be dropped from the program if you do not register by this date.


The 2018 conference will be held at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. The closest airport is Pittsburgh International Airport (23 miles). Lodging options, which will include campus housing and a CSA hotel block in the Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon area, will be shared at a later date.


All proposals should be submitted through Easy Chair using the links supplied on the member page for the Annual Conference. Submission of proposals is limited to current CSA members but new members are welcome. See the benefits of membership and become a member: Membership Application.

INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIPS include three complimentary conference registrations annually for students. Graduate students who wish to submit proposals are strongly encouraged to speak with their Department Chair or Program Director about institutional membership and where possible, make use of the complimentary registrations. Full benefits of institutional membership are described here:

The submission system will be open by October 13, 2017. Please prepare all the materials required to propose your session according to the given directions before you begin electronic submission. All program information--names, presentation titles, and institutional affiliations--will be based on initial conference submissions. Please avoid lengthy presentation and session titles, use normal capitalization, and include your name and affiliations as you would like them to appear on the conference program schedule.

In order to participate in the conference and be listed in the program, all those accepted to participate must register before May 11, 2018.


CSA offers a limited number of travel grants, for which graduate and advanced undergraduate students can apply. Only those who are individual members, have been accepted to participate, and have registered for the conference are eligible to apply for a travel grant. Other details and criteria are listed here:

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