CfP: Reinventing the Social: Movements and Narratives of Resistance, Dissension, and Reconciliation in the Americas

University of Coimbra, Portugal, 22-24 March 2018

The struggle over social issues and the resistance to ruling elites have a long history in the colonies and nations of the Americas. They range from wars of independence and slave uprisings to conventions for women’s rights, workers’ and peasants’ rebellions, indigenous movements, and protests against U.S. wars in Vietnam or in Iraq. Since World War II new forms of international and national inequalities and new dynamics in societies and in the media have increased our awareness of the many ways in which the social keeps being re-negotiated from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

Recent decades have been characterized by new approaches to time- and space-binding and mediational and relational webs of the social; the invention, invocation, and narration of tradition, history, and heritage serve as key elements in the creation of new social bonds with earlier generations; since the turn of the millennium formerly excluded social groups have been prominent in reshaping the scope and the normativity of the social; a diminishing civil society has opened space to the influence of extremisms; unemployed young people, deprived of prospects for the future, attempt new forms of expression and intervention; the disenfranchised take to the streets and to the Internet; social media open up new channels and formats for expression; literature raises consciousness for just causes; artists in every realm translate and give form to many of these thoughts and feelings; sociologists and political scientists bring up new interpretations of and theories on the social.

Whereas Justin Trudeau named the most diverse government in Canada’s history, the Indigenous president Evo Morales in Bolivia and the African-American former president of the U.S.A., Barack Obama, promoted multi- and pluricultural imaginaries and questioned social relations based on coloniality, while the ongoing discussion of Indigenous concepts such as “Buen vivir” revives and reveals more balanced relations between nature and society. Even if the hegemony of the U.S.A. in the Americas has been waning, the election of Donald Trump and his nostalgic vision of “Make America Great Again” will have global impacts, specifically on the Americas. In focus are also issues of immigration and the targeting of difference—be it racial, ethnic, religious, or gender—, the border wall with Mexico, immigration reform policies, the treatment of Muslim inhabitants, and the hosting of refugees, mostly from the Middle East, as well as feminist issues, environmental policies, and human rights in general. […]

Our purpose is therefore to explore past and present forms of intervention, relation, knowledge, translation, negotiation, solidarity, or alliance that promote the emancipation of those usually silenced by hegemonic formulae and hierarchies. Through the debate and exploration of new ground we aim at contributing to the designing of a new grammar and a new pedagogy of the social from epistemological and practical perspectives on the Americas.

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Deadline for submissions: Aug. 31, 2017.

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