Cultural Studies Association (CSA) Annual Conference 2019

Seventeenth Annual Meeting of the Cultural Studies Association (USA)

Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

May 30-June 1, 2019


Environment, Space, and Place Working Group

2019 Theme: Performance, Politics, Power

The ENVIRONMENT, SPACE, AND PLACE (ESP) Working Group of the Cultural Studies Association invites both general and themed submissions for the 17th Annual Meeting of the Cultural Studies Association (U.S.), to be held at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, May 30-June 1, 2019.

The ESP Working Group welcomes proposals from scholars from any discipline, inter-discipline, or scholarly field. As in the CSA more broadly, the ESP Working Group aims to provide multiple and diverse spaces for the cross-pollination of art, activism, pedagogy, design, and research by bringing together participants from a variety of positions inside and outside the university. Therefore, while we welcome traditional academic papers, we also encourage contributions that experiment with alternative formats and intervene in the traditional disciplinary formations and exclusionary conceptions and practices of the academy. Especially in light of the working group’s focus on work that links academic and creative projects with environmental and social justice concerns, we are particularly interested in proposals designed to document and advance existing forms of collective action or catalyze new collaborations. We encourage submissions from individuals working beyond the boundaries of the university: artists, activists, independent scholars, professionals, community organizers, and community college educators.

The ESP is putting out two calls for papers/panelists for the 2019 CSA Annual Conference. Please indicate to which CFP you are responding when you submit your proposal via the “Working Group Paper” track on EasyChair. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted via EasyChair by 3 December 2018. By January 15 2019, ESP organizers will place individual proposals submitted to the general or themed call into sessions, as appropriate, and will notify potential panelists of proposal decisions.

  1. General Call for Papers/Panelists

The ESP invites proposals for individual papers that put the Working Group’s central concerns in conversation with the 2019 conference theme of Performance, Politics, and Power. We welcome work grounded in traditional disciplinary approaches to nature and society, including anthropology, geography, and environmental history, as well as that which employs interdisciplinary frameworks to understand formations of and interactions between environment, space, and place. We invite theoretically, methodologically, and empirically diverse work from scholars, artists, and activists investigating the spatial and cultural dynamics of environment, space, and place, broadly conceived. The ESP highlights scholarly and activist work that illuminates the workings of nature and power, with an eye to building productive dialogue between cultural studies and such interdisciplines as eco-criticism, political ecology, science and technology studies, and the environmental humanities. In keeping with the political genealogy of cultural studies, the ESP especially encourages submissions that bring such explorations to bear upon contemporary concerns of environmental and social justice.

Some topics that potential panelists may address include, but are not limited to:

  • (Un)natural disasters, climate change, and political responses
  • Naturecultural productions of power and resistance
  • Performance ecologies, performance biologies
  • Life, nonlife, and the (bio)politics of care
  • (Non)human performance, power, and agency in the Anthropocene
  • Interspecies justice and intersectional activism
  • Queer and/or racialized geographies and the environmentalism of the disenfranchised
  • Genealogies of race and new materialism
  • Resource extraction and circulation in the global marketplace
  • Authoritarian geographies and the spatial politics of resistance
  • Border ecologies and the politics of environmental management
  1. Themed Call for Papers/Panelists:  Geographies of Power: Thinking Against the Plantation

Writing of Gulf Coast people and the Blues tradition, geographer Clyde Woods writes that to understand a place, we “have to explore the subterranean caverns that shelter the wellsprings of dreams during the seasons when hope can’t be found” (2009: 430). Woods and others examine Hurricane Katrina’s role in exposing such “subterranean caverns,” where the legacies of racial slavery, plantation power, and white supremacy reveal Katrina as a quite unnatural disaster. In this ESP Working Group session, we invite proposals that think with Black geographies and the forms of Black cultural expression and production unique to the Americas (including North America, the Caribbean, and Central and South America).

Following in the tradition of Sylvia Wynter, Clyde Woods, and Katherine McKittrick, we invite contributions that consider how human and nonhuman actors have negotiated, understood, and contested the transformations to the land and the body wrought by plantation slavery. We welcome papers and non-traditional presentations that take up the kind of theoretical, empirical, or methodological work that Woods calls for, that uncover the plantation ecologies and social worlds of the Americas as sites where performance, politics, and power intersect. This session seeks to draw from and speak to the rich cultural traditions and varied ecologies of the Gulf Coast. We hope to address in particular how the environments of New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, and the Afro-Americas more generally, have been shaped by the movement and interaction of people, animals, knowledge and capital through and against plantation forms of power.

Potential panelists might address empirical, theoretical, or methodological questions, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Black geographies and racialized spaces of the Americas
  • Disaster, repair, and the transformation of Afro-American environments and geographies
  • Spaces of hope and resistance within and against the plantation
  • Methodologies and theoretical frameworks for the study of plantation ecologies and social worlds
  • Plantation histories, plantation futures, and plantation power in the present
  • The politics of the production, circulation, and contestation of plantation power
  • Racial capitalism and the plantation
  • Human-nonhuman entanglements on the plantation


Please contact Environment, Space, and Place Working Group Co-Chairs Sophie Moore [email protected] or Lindsay Garcia [email protected]


All proposals should be submitted through Easy Chair using the following link:

The submission system will be open by Monday, October 15, 2018. Please prepare all the materials required to propose your session according to the given directions before you begin electronic submission. All program information–names, presentation titles, and institutional affiliations–will be based on initial conference submissions. Please avoid lengthy presentation and session titles, use normal capitalization, and include your name and affiliations as you would like them to appear on the conference program schedule. Important Note about Technology Requests: accepted participants should send their technology requests to Michelle Fehsenfeld at [email protected] Technology requests must be made by Friday, May 3, 2019.

Submission of proposals is limited to current CSA members, but new members are welcome. See the benefits of membership & become a member HERE.


CSA offers a limited number of travel grants, for which graduate and advanced undergraduate students can apply. Only those who are individual members, have been accepted to participate, and have registered for the conference are eligible to apply for a travel grant.


● Final Deadline for Submissions: Monday, Dec 3, 2018.

● Early Bird Registration: Monday, October 15, 2018 until Friday, March 1, 2019.

● Tuesday, January 15, 2019: Notifications Sent Out

● Friday, March 1, 2019: Early Registration Ends, Regular Registration Rate Begins

● Friday, May, 3, 2019: Last day to register to participate in the conference. If you do not register by this date and are not a current member, your name will be dropped from the program.

Image license: CC0 Public Domain