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Catastrophes of the Human and Architectures of Emergence

  • Westin Hotel Atlanta Georgia (map)

Roundtable at the American Studies Association Conference

CHAIR: Jack Halberstam, Columbia University


Lilian Mengesha, Tufts University
Kemi Adeyemi, University of Washington–Seattle Campus
Joseph M. Pierce, Stony Brook University
Chandan Reddy, University of Washington–Seattle Campus
Jack Halberstam, Columbia University

This panel takes up the topic of the disastrous spatial and geographic/“geologic” violence of the Human and western man from different critical vantage points. We hope to showcase work on various forms of racialized performances and architectures as engagements with missing histories, spaces, and catastrophes that disrupt the visual and haptic orders of western spatial formation. Architectures of emergence, on this panel, name the material structural forms of new ways of perceiving change, transformation, domination, and resistance. While some architectures of emergence come in the form of angles on racialization, others are embedded in the land itself as a repulsion of human influence (oil spills, for example) and still more reside in the unbuilding of the world around us. Refusing to reinvest in and extend the violence of the human by using the logic that centers the human in all endeavors, this panel looks for a deep language of survival within indigenous ontologies, a language of resistance within Black apathy, a language of agonistic friendship within the informal economy, and a queer language of refusal within anarchitectual unmakings of the world. Not invested in the temporalities of optimism and pessimism but bored by negative and positive teleologies and theologies, this roundtable will attend to the time and event of emergence hoping to spy the future at that moment before it tips into more of the same.

The panel will take up a series of questions, topics, and themes having to do with: anarchitecture, apathy, the scale of the small, land-based kinship, nomos and the law, personhood beyond neoliberal governance, affect, languages of adoption rather than kinship, traces and residues, parts rather than wholes, violence and freedom.