Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies

New Racisms II: Neoliberalism and its Others - CALL FOR PAPERS

9th and 10th June 2016

Venue: Silverstone Building, University of Sussex, Brighton UK


Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London– author of Traffick, the illicit movement of people and things and Dangerous Brown Men.

Arun Kundnani – author of ‘The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror’

Sally Munt, Director Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Sussex – author of Cosmopolitan Dharma: Race, Sexuality and Gender in British Buddhism.

Tamara Shefer, University of the Western Cape – author of Racist sexualisation and sexualised racism in narratives on apartheid.

Call for Papers

Neo-liberalism is in crisis. But it keeps driving on. However, in ambition, depth, degree of break with the past, variety of sites being colonized, impact on common sense and everyday behaviour, restructuring of the social architecture, neo-liberalism does constitute a hegemonic project (Stuart Hall The Neoliberal Revolution 2011).

Building on the success of the conference New Racisms: Forms of Un/Belonging in Britain Today in 2014, the Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies would like to invite you to New Racisms II: Neoliberalism and its Others.

In this conference we would like to explore how neoliberalism, global conflict, neo-imperialism and the forcible displacement of peoples has affected how we think about race and the way it interacts with politics, gender and other forms of identity. Although we welcome contributions in any area relating to the conference title, in particular we would like to encourage papers on the following five themes:

The Refugee Crisis and Xenophobia

According to UNHCR’s report World at War, 56.5 million people were forcibly displaced in 2014, 19 million more than a decade ago. In 2014 there were more refugees than at any time since records began, with conflicts in Syria and Ukraine adding to the flows of people moving out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. These numbers are even greater when we include the refugees of global capitalism and climate change. Participants are invited to consider how (historical and contemporary) colonisation, free market trade agreements, land regulation and ecological decline intertwine in different contexts to force people from their homes, and how these affect how such people are received within Fortress Europe.

Anti-Muslim Racisms

In the post 9/11 world, the rise in anti-Muslim racism continues unabated. How has the process of neoliberalism affected and contributed to this? In particular we invite contributions on anti-Muslim racism, state surveillance and counter terrorism policies as well as the management of multiculturalism.

Far Right Movements

Alongside the refugee crisis and increasing anti-Muslim racism we see the rise in far right movements; this encompasses the rise of neo-fascism in the form of Pegida, Britain First, and the EDL, the strengthening of traditional far right nationalist parties such as the French National Front, as well as a more general shift to the right within mainstream politics as exemplified by the electoral successes of UKIP in Britain and other right wing parties across Europe. In the US we are seeing the unlikely emergence of Donald Trump as a credible Presidential candidate because of or in spite of his anti-Muslim platform. Are these developments a response to increasing inequality and the power and prevalence of ‘us and them’ narratives? What is the impact of these far right movements and what might an effective anti-racist resistance look like?

Austerity and the Making of a New Underclass

Following the financial crash of 2008, governments have responded to the ensuing crisis with harsh austerity measures. Such policy responses have asymmetrically affected different groups of people, with those who are most marginalised bearing the brunt of such measures. This can be seen at regional, national, and global levels. In this conference, we are interested in looking at the impact of austerity on racialized Others and how people are responding and resisting to these effects. We invite potential participants to consider how racism and neoliberalism help us to understand how suffering is outsourced to different Others. As the 2015 Paris Climate Conference revealed, the people furthest from the capitalist centre stand to lose most from the over-exploitation of global resources. At a regional level, within Europe, the impact of austerity measures have been felt most harshly in its Southern and Eastern fringes contributing to xenophobia, anti-Muslim racism and the emergence of far right movements as outlined above. In the UK, the neoliberal project encourages black and minority youth to aspire to consumerism, at the same time they continue to be treated as members of a ‘subject’ race.

Higher Education and Race

These politics of austerity are strongly linked to the marketization of higher education. This conference invites participants to consider how this marketization relates to the study of ‘race’ itself, as well as to the issue of diversity amongst both students and staff. The UK government’s recently imposed statutory duty to prevent radicalisation on public bodies, such as the university, affects and is affected by the production of anti-Muslim racism as the #EducationNotSurveillance campaigns testify. Here too there are global connections. The #RhodesMustFall campaign has highlighted the colonial and racial dimensions of the marketisation and inequality of neoliberal education in South Africa. It further invites consideration of the pitfalls and possibilities of global and local responses to such predicaments.  

Over the last fifty years, Cultural Studies has provided a fertile platform examining these themes. Between literary criticism, history, anthropology, media studies, sociology, geography and visual arts, this two-day conference aims to develop this by drawing together contemporary work exploring race in cultural studies against the background of global and local neoliberal forces. It hopes to address the political dynamics of contemporary culture; analysing, contesting, and imagining beyond, the changing dynamics of race and racism in the neoliberal moment.

In the spirit cultural studies the organisers would like to positively encourage submissions from academic and non-academic practitioners. As such, formats could include, but are not restricted to:

•           Installations

•           Visual arts

•           Short films

•           Literature – poems, spoken word, music

•           Sound art

•           Conference papers (between 15 and 30 minutes).

Submissions corresponding to the main themes are encouraged, but other submissions are also welcome. Please do not hesitate to contact the organisers if you are unsure.