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Manuscript deadline
31 August 2021

Cover image - Review of Communication

Review of Communication

Special Issue Editor(s)

John M. Ackerman, University of Colorado at Boulder
[email protected]

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Reconfiguring Dissettlement: Fugitive Bodies in Fungible Places

This themed issue invites essays that name, animate, map, and historicize the “doctrines of discovery” closest to home and work that have, over generations and through the redevelopment and displacement, translated first Indigenous lands and cultures, and now all lands and culture, into fungible property, aided all the while by settler technologies that make doctrinaire the stances and methods of biopolitical conquest. Communication is thought here to be “anagrammatical” (Sharpe, 2016) conjoining the commune, with divergent communality, and then capricious as well as deliberate expressions of a fair, safe, common life. Dissettlement also escapes a single framing because the word is rife with contradictions: it recalls a history of colonial violence while naming an active present of territorial expansion. The term also honors unsettling expression, whether anagrammatical or willful disruptions in newly settled territories. Though the history of how doctrines of discovery evolve and mutate is incomplete, we know that once land is taken and established, occupancies are denied, or once rents escalate and controls sharpen, the incursion continues. How then do we recognize “fugitive” life replete with the “desire for and a spirit of escape and transgression of the proper and the proposed” (Moten, 2018)? Anagrammatically we listen for the “undocumentos” as “the spoken subject within the context of exile” and “transgressive acts of perception and interpretation within a shifting borderlands territory” (Herrera in Rivera, 2021). It has become too easy to act as if earlier “incursions” (Lopez, 1991) have little consequence today; though the militias and cavalries have long been decommissioned, what remains in our hearts and hands are “settler technologies” (la paperson, 2017) to aid in the conquest of land and wealth all over again.

This themed issue is premised on a rejection of complicity in accepting an inheritance of the territories and properties taken by others. At its most rudimentary level, this call seeks commentary on how the university and the neighborhood escape critical scrutiny for the cultural and economic conquests that made those institutions possible. This themed issue may attend more to the ruin than the monument, breakage instead of invention, and debris over development, because the territorial imperatives and technologies long practiced as supporting white supremacy, white anxiety, and white entitlements must be cataloged, mapped, audited, and inventoried if we are to sight, reject, and replace “default discrimination” (Benjamin, 2019). This will mean honoring the “mundane practices” that invisibly guide “the constant task of making and unmaking geography” (Barnd, 2017).
Developing the clear-eyed “stare” proposed by Karma Chávez (2018) for actual bodies but also unseen and “un-said” geographies of racial in/difference (McKittrick, 2006) will require assistance from anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, sexuality and gender studies, and other interpretive domains welcomed to this call. Submissions may be autobiographical, critical-geographic, object-oriented, discourse-critical, textual-interpretive, neighborhood-ordinary, coding-contestable, algorithm-expositional and foremost race, origin, gender, and sexuality-performative. The form of the essay may invest in odd curations, onto-stories, speculative realism, historical retracing, and radical empiricism so that the text-forms align more closely with life-forms.

This call anticipates projects that address (but are not limited to) the following themes:

  • Studies of ruination, decay, debris, and refuse taken up by people resiliently to reoccupy the plans and territories of campus and urban redevelopment.
  • Where and how new colonias spread to foster Black and Brown life by unsettling border territories and their walled divides.
  • The fugitive chorus—the stories that hear the silenced voices of domestic, gig, and first-responding labor in racialized cities.
  • Audits of intimate objects, those quotidien accoutrements that expose the chaos of invisibility and the enclosure of hatred commonly built into residential property and shelter.
  • Studies of border life that reflect the 100-mile border zone and/or localized inventories of established Jim Codes.
  • Efforts to promote epistemic diversity that preserve an epistemological lingua franca as to what counts as knowing and what is classified as method.
  • Challenges to normative campus and city master planning documents and processes that extend the economic and residential reach of a campus, a city, or both in pursuit of innovation capital.
  • Inventories of settler legal technologies that affirm eminent domain, building codes, zoning maps, homeowner associations, etc. that determine the scope of heteronormative housing and recreation.
  • Disturbance ecologies and the “reformation of assemblages” that invent adaptive survival.
  • Ecotonal existence and eco-district projects seeking equitable growth, profit, and inclusive residency.
  • The adjacent life of monuments, museums, statues, and curations.
  • The fugitive lives and spaces of students and/or studies of rent, gigs, sharing, and other sorts of precarious economic life.
  • Studies of demilitarized policing and code enforcements that welcome residential participation.
  • The curation and exposition of undocumentos to illustrate how departures from conventional academic discourse and popularized representations can champion the oppressed.

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