The Politics of Attachment

ASCA WORKSHOP 2015

POLITICS OF ATTACHMENT
25-27 March 2015

Call for Papers

General Theme
The ASCA 2015 International Workshop and Conference (25-27 March 2015) calls for a reflection on politics of attachment by engaging with the decolonial, the ecological and genre.
The 2015 workshop will consider all three strands as forms of attachment. Attachments align us with the many social, psychological, economic, and political organizations that give us a sense of self and belonging. They also align us to intellectual projects: think of the citations you use, the masters you keep at the back of your mind when you outline arguments, or the selections you make in the cultural archive.
Attachments pertain to individual lives as much as they are invested in systemic and structural exercises of power (e.g. nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, doctrines of the good life, capitalism, racism, classism, sexism). Attachments also entail blind spots, since they follow from the turns not taken in the formation of perspectives.
Yet, attachments can be called into question once other knowledges and feelings disorient our prior entanglements. Although detachments can lead to anxiety, immobility, and apathy —they can even traumatize us,— detachments can also be thought of as modes of resistance to familiar and dominant territories of world-making. How can detachments possibly inspire resistant alliances and forms of organization? In other words: what are the politics of our attachments?

Decolonizing Knowledge
“Decolonial thinking is an opening towards another thing, on the march,
searching for itself in the difference.” (Walter Mignolo, 2011)
More than five hundred years of colonization have imposed a mystified image of past and present productions of knowledge and being. The decolonial turn scrutinizes the process of knowledge-making as a fundamental aspect of modernity/coloniality. Besides looking at the way in which Eurocentric domination and exploitation work, this stream will examine what forms of knowing, being, and belonging exist and take shape in resistance to these structural and systemic forms of inequality. How can decoloniality be understood as a project of attachment/detachment that resists hegemonic power formations that profit from the death of entire populations? What praxes, analyses, and attachments/detachments emerge that do not start from within hegemonic principles of political, economic, social, cultural and gendered forms of organization rooted in narratives of Western modernity? What other political imaginaries, lived realities and productions of knowledges are possible and thriving without resorting to empty pluralization? What happens when we foreground other theoretical, geographical, physical, and affective starting points and attachments/detachments that generate a decolonization of knowledge and being? And, how can we interrogate the decolonial turn in terms of its own repetition of hegemonic attachments, especially by looking at decolonization through an intersectional frame?
Topics we are interested in include, but are not restricted to: border thinking and border epistemologies; transnational and grassroots critical race, feminist, queer perspectives on migration, diaspora, home, community, belonging, resistance and decolonization; transformative justice and coalitional politics; shifting the geo- and body politics of critical knowledge; other cosmologies; intersectional forms of decolonization; de-universalizing modernity; nonoppositional thought; cultural production in decoloniality.

Ecologies of Practice
“An ecology of practices does not have any ambition to describe
practices ‘as they are’ (…). It aims at the construction of new ‘practical
identities’ for practices, that is, new possibilities for them to be present, or
in other words to connect.” (Isabelle Stengers, 2005)
Practices can be thought of in terms of multiple attachments: the attachment of practitioners to their repeatedly performed tasks, interdependence between otherwise differentiated agents, and all the interactions that embed them in their worlds. As previous occupational and social attachments become undone by the uprooting of current modes of capital, terms and conditions of cultural practices are likewise put into question, What creative, scholarly and engaged practices emerge, and how are boundaries and overlaps between them renegotiated?
This strand prioritizes ecological frameworks. Ecologies of practice can be thought of in terms of parasitism, symbiosis, interdependence, mutualism, mimicry, predation, extinction, co-evolution, resilience, metabolism, autopoiesis and other ecological concepts. How can practices be thought ecologically? How is ecological thinking practiced? How are world-making, sense-making and change-making related, entangled, interlinked? This strand looks for contributions in the fields of ecological humanities, cultural ecology and other intersections of ecology across disciplines and struggles (ecosophy, ecocriticism, ecolinguistics, ecological aesthetics, ecofeminism, ecological justice struggles, climate and degrowth movements).

Emergent Genre
The narratives people use to mediate their feelings, desires and thoughts are in turn mediated by available genres. One may consider genre as a literary or aesthetic category in its pure state, or as a form that has the remarkable ability to include many content variations into its formal whole. Indeed, genres often give audiences the pleasure of encountering what they already expect to encounter, with slight shifts and alterations maintaining or even strengthening their attachments to them.
Another way to approach genres is to apprehend them as forms of aesthetic expectation and as mediating institutions for people to process complex social and cultural attachments in specific historical moments. Instead of neutral descriptions that would confine the unruliness of meaning making, this stream is interested in the analysis of genres as attachments to the social.
How do genres pertain to certain transitions in social life? What inventories could one make of the emergent genres of and across contemporary cultures? And what transitions can we discern in historical developments of genres? Social theorist Lauren Berlant has suggested the importance of the ‘situation tragedy’ for instance, with its emphasis on the stretched-out temporalities of everyday crisis, in order to understand predominating attachments in precarious societies and cultures.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: affect and genre, the renewal and/or afterlives of established genres, genres of crisis and adjustment, genre and mode, genres across media. We are also interested in reflections on the genres you employ in your own artistic and/or academic labour (the article, the essay, the lecture, the novel et cetera).

Practical Information
Please submit a proposal (max. 300 words) with a short biographical note (max. 150 words) to Dr. Eloe Kingma, Managing Director, asca-fgw@uva.nl. The deadline for submissions is extended to 1 October 2014. If selected you will be asked to provide a 2500-word paper (excluding bibliography) by 15 January 2015 at the latest. The papers will be distributed among other participants in advance of the workshop. The format of the workshop is designed to maximize discussion time. Therefore, during the sessions participants are asked to provide a summary of their written text and to respond to another panelists’ paper for a maximum of 15 minutes.