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Session 1: Saturday, June 2nd: 10:00 - 11:50am
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Even as the last fifteen months have been described by various commentators as a unique phase of neo-fascism in the United States, there is little to suggest that the reigning manifestations and practices of white supremacy, imperial domination, and relentless capital accumulation are a sharp departure from the preceding few decades of the exercise of US state power. Yet, as good materialist thinkers, we must acknowledge that the current conjuncture marks specific iterations of authoritarian rule, resurgent forms of white nationalism, and particular modes of capital accumulation. Consequently, this panel will attempt to address the distinctive political contradictions of this moment. More importantly, at a time when protest movements, ranging from Black Lives Matter, the teachers’ strikes in West Virginia and Oklahoma, and the March for Lives against gun violence are center stage on the political landscape, it is vital that we take stock of the limitations and possibilities of these movements. Our panel will explore some of the following questions: Are there ways in which these movements can combine the promise of reform with the potential for revolution? What are the possibilities for student/worker alliances around the issues of gun violence and structural inequalities in the education system? How might the existing hopes of transnational solidarities be renewed and extended at a time when ongoing global conflicts are displacing millions across the world? How might our own forms of activism within our local communities address the urgent needs of this moment?


John Maerhofer teaches English and interdisciplinary studies in the City University of New York System and at Farmingdale State College, SUNY. His first book, Rethinking the Vanguard, was published in 2009, and his critical work has appeared in Cultural Logic, College Literature, Monthly Review... Read more
Kanishka Chowdhury is professor of English and director of the American Culture and Difference Program at the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in human rights discourse, postcolonial studies, and cultural theory. He is the... Read more
Mela Jones Heestand earned her PhD from the University of California, Davis in Comparative Literature in 2014. Currently, Mela lives in Maine and works as a writer and independent scholar. Her most recent article will appear in History Imperialism, Critique: New Essays in World Literature (... Read more
Joe Ramsey teaches English and American Studies at UMass Boston, where he is an elected member of the Faculty Staff Union Executive Committee (representing Non-Tenure Track faculty) and active in the anti-austerity Coalition to Save UMass Boston. His most recent publications include the edited... Read more