Colonial Postcolonial Decolonial Working Group (CPD) annual workshop CfP: Refusing carcerality

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A prison corridor

This year's BISA Colonial Postcolonial Decolonial Working Group (CPD) annual workshop will take place at King’s College London on 14 September 2022.

Its aim will be to continue CPD’s ongoing research and mentorship project on “abolition as an unanswered question”, through a deeper engagement with carcerality. By interrogating the multiple scales through which detention, imprisonment, policing and punishment shape and structure everyday life (and vice versa), we hope to cultivate new ways of understanding and strengthening the creative, collective praxis required to refuse them.

Workshop CfP

Militarised policing, border enforcement, imprisonment, and the pervasive criminalisation of everyday life are on the rise globally. At the scale of both national and global governance, this reliance on carcerality has become a ‘fix’ for perceived crises; the effect of which has been the production and entangling of new sites and spaces for concentrations/accumulations of violence and premature death, around the world . Despite these phenomena, much of conventional IR literature continues to relegate these practices to the domestic sphere, and at the same time, reduces them to the state’s monopoly over the ‘legitimate use of violence’.

Yet abolition scholarship has cast doubt over this bifurcation between the domestic and the international and instead situates carcerality as an ever present mode of global power that “captures oppressed and racialised peoples in conditions of unfreedom in order to establish control over their labour and lands” (Gill, 2021, citing Gilmore, 2007). Having spent the last year cultivating space to consider abolition as fundamental to the study of contemporary world politics, we turn to look beyond the legal and bureaucratic orders that organise such carceral modes of capture, towards a resolve of refusing the carceral state and its global forms. Because, while the carceral state has enveloped social practices and political-economic configurations at a global level, so too have the refusal of these logics grown (via industrial action, demonstrations, community organising, and solidarity work across spaces of love and care, etc…). While we are examining the genealogy of carcerality, it is always with the aim of imagining different, liberated futures.

We invite interventions which speak to (but can also go well-beyond):

  • The unfolding of carcerality across a range of geographic, political, material and social terrain
  • The multiple entanglements of domestic and international carceral relations
  • The infrastructural projects that shape, enable and sustain these connections
  • The historical and contemporary articulations of carcerality (where carceral violences come from, where they operate in the present and where they are going)
  • The community-based and global solidarity work of refusing carcerality
  • Abolitionist struggles and the different ways they cultivate presence, care and the creative pursuit of freedom

CPD-BISA workshops are not organised around “paper-giving”, but rather each session is introduced by two to three, five-minute opening interventions. Therefore, if you are interested in attending please do also indicate whether you would like to provide one of these five-minute interventions and, if so, on what topic(s).

Please indicate your interest in attending no later than 22 July 2022 to Jenna Marshall 

The CPD Working Group has become an established community of scholars drawn from within and beyond IR – this interdisciplinarity has enriched the work and activities of the community as a whole. Our annual workshop is our most important event and provides a vital space for early career scholars to connect with more established academics working through the colonial question in their research. As in previous years, this will be an innovative and participatory event with a range of heterodox sessions.

BISA members attend free of charge. There will be a charge for non-members.

Photo by Matthew Ansley on Unsplash