Announcing a CMRC conference in collaboration with SIMAGINE
January 7-11, 2020 Register now
Registration Fees (Including lunch & refreshments daily): $250/ faculty; $150/ non-OECD Country Residents & Students; Day rate of $50 available
A draft program is available here.
The question of borders and the practice of bordering persist in a world destined for encounters and confrontations. This persistence today bears resemblance to long-standing legacies of coloniality, modernity, and globalization, but it also foregrounds new narratives, aesthetics, and politics of exclusion and dehumanization. Talk of walls, fortresses, boundaries, and deportation has never been a political or philosophical anomaly, but rather a reflection of a particularistic social imaginary, a linear compulsion of epistemic assumptions that sees the world through the logic of hierarchy, classification, difference, and ontological supremacy. This foreclosure is a widely shared and accepted social imaginary, as demonstrated in current scholarship in the critical humanities and social and political sciences: a foreclosure that has also defined institutions and disciplines of knowledge production which continue to marginalize other knowledge systems and intellectual traditions and refuse to acknowledge their viability and legitimacy in the academy. Disciplinary walls and intellectually demarcated canons within the Western and Westernized university in the Global North and South have generally produced narrow curricula and models of learning that reproduce selective systems of thought, discourses and practices.
The tenacity of this normalized worldview requires urgent new imaginaries: a decolonial perspective not only to call out the ontological instability of Western theory, but also to establish a sense of epistemic hospitality capable of liberating and re-centering other ways of knowing and dwelling in the world. This contestation of physical and cognitive borders has found its most ardent proponents in recent movements such as #RhodesMustFall, Standing Rock, Idle No More, Undocumented and Unafraid, #Whyismycurriculumsowhite, Arab Uprisings, Black Lives Matter, and #MeToo, among others. At the heart of this decolonial injunction is a desire by absented voices to reclaim the right to self-narrate, to signify, and to render visible local histories, other temporalities, subjectivities, cosmologies, and struggles silenced by Western and Westernized accounts of the world.
The fields of art, religion and the media have not yet come under historical scrutiny about their own epistemic and existential imaginaries and whether they reify or disrupt dominant structures and legacies of knowledge production? Drawing from a variety of intellectual traditions and established academic disciplines, these fields risk carrying the same blind spots, the same foreclosures, the same ontological foundations, and the same centered claims to universality. What can a decolonial critique then do to avoid a zero-sum epistemology? And how can we develop new decolonial imaginaries as an invitation to undo the Eurocentrism of our paradigms, challenge the verticality of our pedagogical designs, and achieve an ethics of interpretation, an epistemic justice whereby theories from the South or from ‘the margins’ in the North are not treated merely as local or subjective? The decolonial attitude challenges us to avoid embracing singular universalities, and rethink altogether the hierarchies of global-local and of universal-particular that underlie this world’s inequality.
This will be the ninth in a series of successful international conferences held by the Center for Media, Religion, and Culture in Boulder. The previous meetings have brought together an interdisciplinary community of scholars for focused conversations on emerging issues in media and religion. Each has proven to be an important landmark in the development of theory and method in its respective area and has resulted in important collaborations, publications, and resources for further research and dialogue.
The 2020 conference is organized in conjunction with SIMAGINE, an international and interdisciplinary research consortium bringing together partners from the USA, the UK, Europe and South-Africa; it is hosted by the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and dedicated to the study of social imaginaries between secularity and religion in a globalizing world. SIMAGINE has organized conferences on ‘Religion, Community, Borders’ leading to a special issue of the open access Journal for Religion and Transformation in December 2019. In 2018 the consortium published the volume Social Imaginaries in a Globalizing World.
Ann Laura Stoler is Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research. Stoler is the director of the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry. She has worked for some thirty years on the politics of knowledge, colonial governance, racial epistemologies, the sexual politics of empire, and ethnography of the archives. She has been a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études, the École Normale Supérieure and Paris 8, Cornell University’s School of Criticism and Theory, Birzeit University in Ramallah, the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism, Irvine’s School of Arts and Literature, and the Bard Prison Initiative. Recent interviews with her are available at Savage Minds, Le Monde, and Public Culture, as well as Pacifica Radio and here.
Her books include Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule (2002, 2010), Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (2009) and the edited volumes Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (with Frederick Cooper, 1997), Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination (2013), and Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times (2016).
Catherine Walsh is a militant intellectual involved for many years in the processes and struggles of social justice and decolonial transformation, first in the US (where she also worked collaboratively with Paulo Freire), and in the last 25 years in Latin America, where she has worked closely with Indigenous and Black social movements. She is presently a Senior Professor and Director of the Latin American Cultural Studies Doctoral Program at the Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar in Quito, where she also coordinates the Afro-Andean Documentary and Oral History Archive, the largest archive of black collective memory in Latin America. She has been an invited professor and scholar throughout the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean, and in South Korea and South Africa, and an invited speaker at hundreds of conferences and events throughout the world. Catherine´s current work focuses on the political, epistemic, and existence-based projects of decoloniality and critical interculturality, taking as central axes the geopolitics of knowledge, philosophies of life-existence, ancestral and feminist thought, and decolonial pedagogies-praxis of insurgency, resistance, and re-existence.
Her recent publications include, among others, On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis, written with Walter Mignolo (Duke Press, 2018); “Decolonial Notes to Paulo Freire Walking and Asking,” in Educational Alternatives in Latin America (R. Aman y T. Ireland, eds., Palgrave/Macmillan, 2019); “Lewis Gordon: Existential Incantations that Cross Borders and Move Us Forward” in Black Existentialism. Essays on the Transformative Thought of Lewis Gordon (Danielle Davis, ed., Rowman and Littlefield, 2019); two volumes in Spanish of Decolonial Pedagogies: Insurgent practices to resist, (re)exist), and (re)live (Quito: Ediciones Abya-Yala, 2013 and 2017); “On Gender and its Otherwise,” in The Palgrave Handbook on Gender and Development: Critical engagements in feminist theory and practice (W. Harcourt, ed., London: Palgrave, 2016).
In 2019 Catherine was awarded the prestigious “Frantz Fanon Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Caribbean Philosophical Association.
Glen Coulthard is Yellowknives Dene and an associate professor in the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program and the Departments of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), winner of the 2016 Caribbean Philosophical Association’s Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Book, the Canadian Political Science Association’s CB Macpherson Award for Best Book in Political Theory, published in English or French, in 2014/2015, and the Rik Davidson Studies in Political Economy Award for Best Book in 2016.
He is also a co-founder of Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, a decolonial, Indigenous land-based post-secondary program operating on his traditional territories in Denendeh (Northwest Territories).
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Her work breaks open the intersections between politics, story and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity. Working for over a decade an independent scholar using Nishnaabeg intellectual practices, Leanne has lectured and taught extensively at universities across Canada and has twenty years experience with Indigenous land based education. She holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba, and teaches at the Dechinta Centre for Research & Learning in Denendeh. Leanne's books are regularly used in courses across Canada and the United States including Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back, The Gift Is in the Making, Lighting the Eighth Fire (editor), This Is An Honour Song (editor with Kiera Ladner) and The Winter We Danced (Kino-nda-niimi editorial collective). Her latest book, As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance was published by the University of Minnesota Press in the fall of 2017, and was awarded Best Subsequent Book by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.
As a writer, Leanne was named the inaugural RBC Charles Taylor Emerging writer by Thomas King in 2014 and in 2017/18 she was a finalist in the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Trillium Book Award. She has published extensive fiction and poetry in both book and magazine form. Her second book of short stories and poetry, This Accident of Being Lost is a follow up to the acclaimed Islands of Decolonial Love and was published by the House of Anansi Press in Spring 2017. Leanne is also a musician combining poetry, storytelling, song writing and performance in collaboration with musicians to create unique spoken songs and soundscapes. Leanne's second record f(l)light produced by Jonas Bonnetta (Evening Hymns), was released in the fall of 2016. She was awarded the inaugural Outstanding Indigenous Artist at the Peterborough Arts Awards in 2018. Leanne is Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and a member of Alderville First Nation.
Additional information will be added as it becomes available.