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CFP: #ALT-MKE Conference

Monday, December 9, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alexandra Sanchez

The Center for 21st Century Studies and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will host this year’s annual conference, "#ALT-MKE," on April 30–May 2, 2020.

#ALT-MKE will highlight how the temporality and space of the ordinary city offers new epistemologies and practices that are engaged in the global struggle to combat racialized disinvestment, a fractured body politic, ecological crisis, and urban abandonment. The spectacles offered by the DNC–whether political, mediated, or financial in nature–lead only to institutional inaction and failure, wherein lie opportunities for ongoing forms of resistance to find new and stronger footings.

From the Situationists and Russian Constructivists, to suffragists, tactical urbanists, the Movement for Black Lives, and the Occupy movement, people have always imagined and sought new ways of life to challenge oppressive structures and violent erasure. Under the increasingly dire pressures of climate crisis, racial capitalism, ongoing settler displacement, destructive national politics, and crushing inequality, the time has come to reclaim our future by reframing these issues through the refocused lens of the 21st century city.

At the core of this investigation is the focus on reframing cities as political and ideological acts that hold within them normative values of aesthetics, power/resistance, public life, and citizenship. By inviting explorations of critical, decolonial, anti-racist politics, this conference hopes to bring together new forms of analysis, methods of urban historiography, organizing, and engaged forms of scholarship.

The conference seeks to highlight the undercommons and the counternarratives fomented in the ordinary life of spaces and places. The conference will ask how contested knowledges and stories of a city may be experienced across different and intersecting power relations that organize bodies and space. The conference hopes that accounts of everyday practices, local knowledges, and organizing will help illuminate how urban residents resist, adapt and reformat conventional structures of power, governance, and order. The conference does not expect to find a single solution, but to foster a variety of grounded strategies and projects that we aim to highlight, bring together, and learn from.

The conference seeks proposals for 15–20 minutes presentations which could address any of the following topics:

  • Racial capitalism;
  • Climate, ecology, water justice, and cities;
  • Urban culture/urbanities;
  • Water and land issues, particularly as they pertain to indigenous rights;
  • Historiography of the city, historiography of urban political, social, or activist movements;
  • Artistic practices and urban space;
  • New ways to read and interpret cities—epistemologies of the urban;
  • The dynamics of race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in urban spaces;
  • Narratives of cities, urban crime, and/or segregation (in literature, film, or other media);
  • Indigenous knowledges and practices;
  • Local foodways and agricultural practices;
  • Urban design and sustainability (including transportation);
  • Settler colonialism and decolonizing cities;
  • Cities and biopolitics/biopower;
  • The urban in relation to the suburban/exurban.

To submit a proposal, send your abstract (up to 250 words) and a brief (one-page) CV in one PDF document by Monday, January 13, 2020 to Richard Grusin, Director, Center for 21st Century Studies, at

For more information on the conference, see #ALT-MKE

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