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[ecrea] CFP: In/Security (English Language Notes, Fall/Winter 2016)

Mon Jul 13 18:04:05 GMT 2015

*CFP: In/Security (/English Language Notes/, Fall/Winter 2016)*

*Editors: Nadine Attewell (McMaster University) and Janice Ho
(University of Colorado, Boulder)*

This issue of /ELN/ takes for its focus the topic of security and its
necessary correlate, insecurity. As Itty Abraham notes, the term
“security” is a “traveling signifier” that has “attached itself to every
scale of human activity, from the individual to the international, even
to outer space; from comestible (food security), natural (environmental
security), financial (security/securities), and territorial (homeland
security) to virtual (cyber security); to forms of community, from
Social Security to collective security, which is the principle behind
the United Nations.” Such proliferation, however, signifies not so much
the incoherence of the term, but rather, the radical inflation of
insecurities—whether material, real, imagined,or manufactured—that seem
to beleaguer us. A special issue on this topic is an opportunity not
only to analyze both the interconnections and contradictions between the
forms and technologies of in/securities that have structured—and that
continue to structure—our political climate, but also to think about the
aesthetic, cultural, and institutional modes through which such concerns
have been experienced and addressed at different historical and
geopolitical junctures.

Giorgio Agamben points out that “[s]ecurity as the leading principle of
state politics dates back to the birth of the modern state”; the
imperatives of national security raise a series of questions regarding
the scope of state power and action; the identification and
manufacturing of domestic and foreign threats against the state (viewed
as sources of “insecurity”); and the negotiation of geopolitical
relations between states. But the work of thinkers like Michel Foucault
and Achille Mbembe reminds us, in addition, to enquire into “the
generalized instrumentalization of human existence and the material
destruction of human bodies and populations” that lie at the heart of
security’s imperatives (Mbembe). Their concepts of bio- and
necropolitics invite attention to the ways in which particular
technologies and instruments of security act on collective populations
and individual bodies, managing danger, risk, and insecurity in the
service of governmentality, as well as to the forms of solidarity and/or
resistance these engender in consequence. Indeed, important
theorizations of vulnerability and precarity (including Sara Ahmed’s
/The Cultural Politics of Emotion/, Judith Butler’s /Precarious Life/,
and Bryan Turner’s /Vulnerability and Human Rights/) foreground the
political possibilities that can inhere in shared experiences of
corporeal and affective insecurity. And recent discourses of human
rights—encapsulated in the United Nations Commission on Human Security’s
call for a “shift [in attention] from the security of the state to the
security of the people”—ask if the politics of security can be
reconfigured in less coercive, or more ideologically nuanced, terms.

For the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of /ELN/, we//invite scholars from across
the range of humanities (inter)disciplines, and grounded in any
historical or geocultural context, to propose contributions that enquire
into the forms by which,conditions under which, and discourses through
which in/security has been experienced and known. We welcome single- and
-collaboratively authored essays of no longer than twenty-five
manuscript pages, as well as creative works and review essays on
relevant books. Questions that contributors might consider in
formulating their offerings include:

  * What are the historical referents of in/security (national, human,
    economic, etc.),and (how) have these changed over time? What
    accounts for shifts in the objects of what we might today call
    in/security? To what extent, likewise, does the vocabulary of
    in/security resonate transhistorically?
  * What are the epistemologies that have underpinned our apprehensions
    of in/security? And what are the histories of the apparatuses or
    technologies—in Foucault’s terms—that have been deployed in the name
    of security? How have different “societies of security” been
    constructed or envisioned?
  * How is in/security differentially distributed across populations,
    geographical regions, and within the world system? How do the
    categories of race, class,gender, sexuality, and ability organize
    such distributions, and how does in/security function as a
    technology of differentiation and/or identity formation?
  * What forms of political resistance of activism might cohere around
    the idea or experience of in/security?
  * Fredric Jameson has observed that “it seems easier for us today to
    imagine the thoroughgoing deterioration of the earth and of nature
    than the breakdown of late capitalism.” If feelings of insecurity
    seem to saturate everyday life in the twenty-first century, what do
    we not feel insecure about, and with what consequences? Are there
    forms of in/security that we have forgotten or no longer deem it
    necessary to feel?
  * What sorts of literary, aesthetic, cultural, or institutional forms
    have been deployed to capture and represent in/security? If genre
    is, as Lauren Berlant describes it, “an aesthetic structure of
    affective expectation,” might in/security itself be described as a
    kind of genre?

We also welcome shorter position papers of between eight to ten pages
for two topical clusters: 1) “Labour, Precarity, and the University”;
and 2) “Environment, Protest, and the (Post)colonial Condition.” We
envision each as an opportunity to focus attention on the material
in/securities that condition intellectual work today, particularly in
settler nation-states like Canada and the United States (where /ELN
/currently “lives”).

For *Cluster 1*, on “Labour, Precarity, and the University,” we invite
papers that consider how contemporary processes of neoliberalism and
advanced capitalism have restructured institutions of higher learning in
relation to the production of in/security. On one hand, the university
today has witnessed acute erosions to job security and increased
dependencies on precariat labour through the casualization of its
workforce; on the other, it is also a site in which the construction of
“safe spaces” for students, faculty, and employees—a discourse
historically mobilized by minority groups and, more recently, redeployed
in calls for civility or trigger warnings—has been (unevenly) pursued.
We welcome reflections on, but not limited to, the following questions:
who feels—or is made—safe or unsafe in the university, and how do these
experiences of in/security intersect with systemic histories of
discrimination? How have universities been shaped by the broader
socio-political environments of in/security in which they exist? What
kinds of new critical or pedagogic practices might be envisioned as
responses to such environments? What conjunctural alliances and
solidarities have been—or might be—formed across different kinds of
precariat labour as conditions of employment in the university continue
to be transformed?


Entitled “In/security on the Ground: Environment, Protest, and the
(Post)colonial Condition,” *Cluster 2* takes as its starting point
Jameson’s observation that “it seems easier for us today to imagine the
thoroughgoing deterioration of the earth and of nature than the
breakdown of late capitalism.” In fact, however, engagement with the
former often includes capitalism, understood in its articulation with
racist, nationalist,and imperialist systems of governance, among its
objects of critique. For this cluster, we welcome papers that address
local, translocal, and/or macroexperiences of environmental insecurity
/in relation to/ the requirements of, and movements against, racial
capitalism, colonialism, and nation-state securitization. In what ways
do environmental degradation and activism arise out of, reflect, make
visible, activate, and/or contest racial capitalism, nationalism, and
colonialism as projects that have severely limited who (or what) can
access as well as what counts as a livable life?

Prospective authors should submit a 300–500 word proposal, clearly
indicating the nature of the proposed contribution and accompanied by a
brief biographical note and 2-page CV, to the editors by September 1
2015. Selected authors will be invited to prepare articles by March 1
2016, with publication contingent on an external peer-review process.

Moreinformation about /ELN/ can be found at
Currently published online at EBSCO, /ELN /will soon be entering into a
publishing agreement with Duke University Press Journals and with
Project Muse as its hosting venue. Please direct queries and proposals
to the special issue editors Nadine Attewell ((attewen /at/
<mailto:(attewen /at/>) and Janice Ho ((janice.ho /at/
<mailto:(janice.ho /at/>). Include “In/Security” in your subject

Nadine Attewell
Associate Professor
Department of English and Cultural Studies
McMaster University
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8

Author, /Better Britons: Reproduction, National Identity, and the
Afterlife of Empire /(University of Toronto Press, 2014)
Associate Editor, /Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas/

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