to Jan 12

MLA 2020: Graduate Student Mentoring, a Roundtable

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Co-presented with Dr. Asha Nadkarni in a session sponsored by Modern Language Association’s Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Humanities and Delegate Assembly Organizing Committee

That women of color are precluded from the normative image of “professor” ought to be unsurprising. How, then, can early career woman of color scholars support their graduate students of color? In their short presentation, Dr. Asha Nadkarni (now associate professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst) and Dr. Neelofer Qadir (recent PhD beginning a tenure­-stream position at University of North Caroline at Greensboro in Fall 2019) will discuss their mentor-­mentee relationship with a specific focus on what it means to mentor and be mentored in a community of women of color.

Their conversation will focus on hurdles such as the opacity around the profession’s expectations of advising relationships, and of women of color graduate students and faculty members in general. They will explore the mentoring challenges that Asha has faced and the models she has found useful (such as mutual mentoring cohorts), as well as the isolation that Neelofer confronted early in her graduate studies (being ‘conditionally accepted’), her issues with managing committee members through the exams stage, and the disproportionately high level of service commitments that accompanied her progress throughout the program. The two will discuss the specific strategies they used as overburdened women of color faculty and graduate students to build an honest relationship that made possible clear communication and allowed for targeted goal setting and structured and unstructured feedback. Finally, they will reflect upon how even though shared identities can be sites of exploitation and violence, they’ve strived to re­shape spaces of overwork into sites of collaboration toward shared intellectual and institutional goals.

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5:15 PM17:15

MLA 2020: Global Black Studies, a Roundtable

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With the rise of interdisciplinary fields such as Global South studies, Indian Ocean studies, and Afro-Asian studies, the primacy of the Black Atlantic paradigm for explaining modern racialization, political economy, and the world system has faced pressure for its focus on a third of the globe. In this session, we seek to bring the rest of the planet into relationship with the Atlantic region to think through the multiple simultaneous dynamics that produced and reproduce the concept of Blackness and its figurative and material practices.

In this regard, we think not only of the global contours of Euro-American imperial projects (both present and past), the multiple relationships between slavery and indenture, and the traffic in bodies in and around the African continent, but also representations of Blackness and carcerality such as the South Asian notion of the kala pani, which denotes both the "black waters" of the ocean, on which enforced migration was understood as a loss of caste status, and the colonial British prison facility (the Kala Pani) on the Andaman Islands (also known as the Cellular Jail). And, yet, because of the deep historical trauma of chattel slavery and the preeminent role of North America in the formation of contemporary political, economic, and cultural domains, the notion of a global Black studies also invites critique for ostensibly sidelining these facts.

Drawing from literary texts as well as works in other genres of creative and social expression, the participants will address the following interrelated questions:

  • How does the prefix "global" alter, expand, or complicate notions and practices of Black studies?

  • Conversely, how does Black study of the world enhance understandings of the global?

Additional questions for the participants to consider will be circulated in the fall, such as the following:

  • What are the temporalities of Blackness, of globality? How do these three terms—temporality, global, Black—inform one another?

  • Has Black studies always been global?

  • What role does literature, traditionally conceived, play in relation to other forms of cultural expression vis-à-vis heterogeneous Black experiences?

  • What theories and praxis prevail, or need to be foreground, in contemporary Black studies? And what are the roles and responsibilities of those in the academy to work with communities beyond their professional institutions?

  • How does Black studies—in its interdisciplinary formation as well as in the different theoretical and methodological approaches it makes possible—inform critiques of disciplinarity and identitarianism, with and against cognate fields such as Asian American studies, African studies, or Caribbean studies (to name a few)? 

Confirmed Participants

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to Sep 23

CFP for Rethinking Racial Capitalism: Labor, Caste, and Dispossession (ACLA 2020)


Co-organized with Nick Millman (UPenn) and Dr. Najnin Islam (Colorado College)

This seminar examines racial capitalism as a global phenomenon hinged on long, connected histories of dispossession and labor across diverse geographies and time periods. We take inspiration from Cedric Robinson’s pioneering Black Marxism, which emphasizes the tendency for capitalism “not to homogenize but to differentiate– to exaggerate regional, subcultural, and dialectical differences into racial ones.” Investigating how capital draws upon internal differences in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean better attunes us to otherwise obscured dynamics within and across the Global South. This view enables us to conceptualize how pre-colonial hierarchies, relatively autonomous systems of commodity exchange and circulation, and unfree labor regimes both interact with a globalizing capitalist mode of production and generate their own racial ideologies. What histories, archives, literatures, and methods can expand the vocabulary for racial capitalism to account for the specificities of diverse contexts? How do we apprehend the relationship between discourses of race, caste, casta and their articulation with labor and dispossession within the contemporary global capitalist order?

We wish to dialogue between foundational theories of racial capitalism and scholarship that complicates familiar genealogies of capitalism and race. Scholars such as Robinson, W.E.B. DuBois, C.L.R. James, and Eric Williams showed how race and capitalism constitute one another. Recent work across disciplines enlarges this perspective. Lisa Lowe, Shona Jackson, Glen Coulthard, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Paula Chakravartty, and Sumit Guha, among others, rethink political economy as entangled with not only race, but also caste, indigeneity, nationality and gender. This is especially illuminating when juxtaposed against earlier, polarized definitions of race, as an invention of scientific & biological thinking in the Atlantic World, and of caste, as an exceptional religious system in South Asia separate from political economy. In contrast, by exploring overlaps between race and caste, and the prevalence of race-thinking in premodern societies and non-European contexts, newer scholarship demonstrates how these different categories fuel capital accumulation and dispossession on a global scale. We strive to build on these conversations, contributing to da Silva and Chakravartty’s claim that the dispossession of racialized subjects from their land and labor is a central, ongoing feature of global racial capitalism.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • primitive accumulation;

  • (post)colonial archives;

  • Subaltern, Indigenous & Peasant Studies;

  • Connected histories across Atlantic, Indian, and/or Pacific Ocean worlds;

  • Indentureship & chattel slavery;

  • comparative studies of race & caste

Send 300-word abstracts & short bio to Nick Millman, nmillman@sas.upenn.edu, Najnin Islam, nislam@coloradocollege.edu, and Neelofer Qadir, n_qadir@uncg.edu

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CFP for a Roundtable: Global Black Studies @ MLA 2020
to Mar 17

CFP for a Roundtable: Global Black Studies @ MLA 2020

How does the prefix "global" alter, expand, or complicate notions and practices of Black studies? Conversely, how does Black study of the world enhance understandings of the global?

300-word sketches of roundtable provocations.

Deadline for submissions: Sunday, 17 March 2019

Sean Kennedy, Graduate Center, City U of New York (kennedy.sean@gmail.com ); Neelofer Qadir, U of Massachusetts, Amherst (nqadir@english.umass.edu )

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to Jan 7

South Asian Literary Association Annual Meeting 2019

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The Indian Ocean and the Past Present of Empire

The primary themes of the panel include reconstructing material histories of imperial settlement in the Global South and the trade in people, goods, and ideas both within South Asia and from outside it and back; analyzing the relationships between forms of unfree labor in the development of racial capitalism and settlement; querying the possibilities for transformative political and economic solidarities in the long wake of Third Worldism; tracing affective relations and anti-normative socialities; and utilizing the aesthetic and the literary as modes, not simply objects, of theorizing.

Dr. Nienke Boer, “Oceanic Tales, Imperial Legacies: Robinson Crusoe in the Indian Ocean”

Sean M. Kennedy, “Corruption: A Pre-History From Fanqui-Town”

Dr. Usha Rungoo, “The Shipping Container and the Human Cargo Ship: Bridging (Neo)Colonial Histories in Amal Sewtohul’s Made in Mauritius”

Neelofer Qadir, ‘Kifa Urongo’: Structures of Unfreedom in Paradise

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9:30 AM09:30

National Women's Studies Association Annual Meeting 2018


Drawing on a broad range of archives – from epistolary exchanges of solidarity to cultural production such as poetry, performance, and novels –  these presentations amplify counter-archives that interrupt the dominant narratives that have coalesced through EuroAmerican colonialisms and its handmaiden, liberalism. Through the multiplicity of these counter-archives, we articulate spaces that center and explore alternative feminist epistemologies. Each paper examines a different form of social activism that exemplifies, reimagines, and/or reinvents narratives that are silenced or ignored in government projects of state formation and capitalist accumulation.

Engaging with sub-theme six’s call to “demand abolition” of contemporary hierarchies of power and for artists to “rehears[e] futures that presently appear impossible,” this panel focuses on the cross-racial solidarities that move us beyond an ascribed set of identities fixed through imperialist discourses. Interrogating both self-representation and an assigned “Othered” status via religious, racial, gendered, and sexualized violences, presenters utilize literary, historical, and ethnographic methodologies to consider the transnational context of archive-building within a far-reaching Black, Latinx, and South Asian diasporas.

Dr. Jamele Watkins, "Performativity of Justice: Solidarity Campaigns with Angela Davis in Europe"

Neelofer Qadir, "Fugitive Archives: Critical Fabulation in Shailja Patel’s Migritude"

Dr. Lauren Silber, "Felt History: Literary Form as Geopolitical Archive in Cristina Garcia’s Dreaming in Cuban"

Samina Gul Ali, "Revolutionary or Terrorist? Fiction as Counter-Archive in Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana"

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