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02.12.2018 15:35 Alter: 8 days


Call for Papers

Theme: Insecurity
Type: Spring 2019 Conference
Institution: Center for 21st Century Studies, University of
Location: Milwaukee, WI (USA)
Date: 2.–4.5.2019
Deadline: 11.1.2019

The Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee invites proposals for their spring 2019
conference, Insecurity, which will take place on May 2-4, 2019.

This conference proposes the concept of “insecurity” as one of the
governing logics of economic, political, and social life in the West
at the end of the second decade of the 21st century. Insecurity picks
up on, and challenges, several key concepts of 21st century studies,
especially “precarity,” “securitization,” and “resilience.”

The notion of insecurity has affinities with, but is more capacious
than, “precarity,” which has been used by cultural, economic, and
sociopolitical theorists to describe the structural vulnerability
that runs through the complex historical formation of labor under
which we operate today. Like precarity, insecurity manifests itself
in terms of diminished access to housing, food, healthcare, and other
vital human and social welfare resources. Both precarity and
insecurity address the increasing economic inequality of the 21st
century, in which the gap between individual and corporate wealth and
the income of those who work (or are unable to work) for a living
grows increasingly vast and unbridgeable. Our definition of
insecurity begins with and is predicated upon the structural economic
injustice and precarity that predominate in our present historical
moment, but expands the concept of precarity from its primarily
economic meaning to include technological, affective, environmental,
and geopolitical concerns.

Insecurity also picks up on and challenges the basic premises of
“securitization,” which refers to the burgeoning structure of state
and non-state surveillance that has proliferated in the US and
globally after 9/11. In fact, it would not be mistaken to insist that
rather than making populations, transportation, and information
systems more secure, securitization systematically produces
insecurity—evident most dramatically in the treatment of refugees,
migrants, and asylum-seekers across the globe, but also in the
increased danger of cybercrimes or cyber war, terrorism, climate
disasters, global epidemics, and economic crashes. Political
theorists and legal scholars have identified the “insecurity state,”
which gets at some of what we mean to address. But we mean as well to
take up the way in which surveillance and securitization generate
both individual and collective feelings of insecurity. These are
experienced in a highly securitized daily life, in which the ubiquity
of social media, data mining, GPS tracking, and other surveillance
technologies enables the collection of unfathomable quantities of
data in the name of securing the state from named and unnamed threats
which are themselves produced by the apparatus of securitization.

We seek proposals for 15-20 minute papers, which could address any of
the following topics:

- securitization, cybersecurity, hacking, surveillance
- data insecurity
- refugees, migrants, and border security
- precarious labor
- gender/sexual insecurity, the erosion of trans rights and the
 increasing visibility of sexual assault
- climate, water, and ecological insecurity
- food insecurity
- housing insecurity
- resilience and insecurity
- psychological insecurity
- national, geopolitical, and technological insecurity
- health care security, global biorisk
- the security state
- economic insecurity, global financial markets, and the threat of

Please send your abstract (up to 250 words) and a brief (1-page) CV
by Friday, January 11, 2019 to Richard Grusin, Director, Center for
21st Century Studies, at:

Confirmed plenary speakers for the conference are:
Neel Ahuja (UC Santa Cruz), Jennifer Doyle (UC Riverside), Annie
McClanahan (UC Irvine), Mark Neocleous (Brunel University London),
Safiya Noble (USC), Naomi Paik (Illinois), and Saskia Sassen


Richard Grusin, Director
Center for 21st Century Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Curtin Hall 929
3243 N Downer Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211