2006 CFP


The 8th Annual Conference of the Marxist Reading Group

“Spaces of Dissent: The Borders of Transnational Dreams”

Featuring: Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Peter Hitchcock

March 30-April 1 at the University of Florida

As the networks of global capital become increasingly complex, we are compelled to rethink the idea of borders. The obsolescence of national borders may lead to the transnational-corporate dream of the end of history, but identities historically determined and likewise freed by disappearing borders have reemerged in figures like the refugee. Following Marx’s distinction in The German Ideology, the “refugee serfs,” rather than requiring an abolition of capitalism’s system of labor like the proletariat, assert their rights to production and arrive at free labor. Much like the “refugee serf,” the global capital refugee realizes an impossible (Real) structural dimension through which capital itself is called into question-the refugee is the paradox or contradiction of capitalism’s driving force: the very opposition capitalism tries to integrate into itself again. In light of these conceptions, does the refugee represent a missed opportunity to re-establish a resistance to the coordinates of global capital's structure?

Moreover, if we can read the neoliberal rhetoric of corporate flexibility as a response to the multi/transnational phase of global capital, can we see the recent trend in academe toward interdisciplinarities as mimicking the neoliberal imperative to find flexibility within fixed borders? Or does it constitute a radical opposition, providing the opportunity to reconceptualize the spaces we inhabit?

This conference seeks papers that link the ideas of borders to Marxist theory.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is a committed activist, renowned theorist, cultural critic, and influential translator. The translation and introduction of Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology introduced her as a radical critic willing to interrogate the premises of Marxism, feminism, and deconstruction. She helped define the field of postcolonial studies with her seminal essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?” and continues to complicate the field through such works as A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present, Death of a Discipline and the forthcoming Other Asias. She is Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and devotes much of her time to teacher training in India and Bangladesh.

Peter Hitchcock is the author of Imaginary States: Studies in Cultural Transnationalism and has written widely on literary studies, cultural theory, Mikhail Bahktin, and dialogics. His research interests span many disciplines-working-class fiction, film studies, Marxism, transnationalism, and post-colonial theory, to name a few-and his book, Oscillate Wildly: Space, Body, and Spirit of Millennial Materialism, continues to highly influence the study of spatial theory. In addition, Hitchcock has served as associate director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, as well as on the editorial board of Cultural Logic. He teaches at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.

We seek papers that address (but are not limited to) the following topics:

The agency of the refugee
Spaces of consent / dissent
Real, theoretical, and imagined refugees / borders
Corporate nightmares
Worker’s rights in a flexible world
Renegotiating class borders
Citizenship after the nation state
The nationalist as refugee
Reterritorialized / deterritorialized borders
Nomads vs. barbarians vs. refugees
The management of global capital, i.e. IMF, WTO, World Bank
Structurally adjusting identities
The freedoms of Marx’s “refugee serfs”
Literary representations of borders / refugees
The literary in an interdisciplinary academy
Disciplinarity’s second death
The margins of the academy
Academic labor in the corporate university