Shifting Tides, Anxious Borders (Due: 3/1/2013)

Shifting Tides, Anxious Borders: A Graduate Student Conference in Transnational Studies (4th Annual)

“Historicizing Difference within Globalized Subjectivities”

April 19th & 20th, 2013

 Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY


Keynote Speaker: Branka Arsic, Columbia University

Roundtable Discussion: Branka Arsic, Columbia University

           Susan Strehle, Binghamton University

           Third Panelist TBA

“Shifting Tides, Anxious Borders” is an interdisciplinary graduate student conference dedicated to exploring the changing contours of the sphere of American Studies, including the crisscrossing currents between areas previously demarcated in separate disciplines. This year’s focus, “Historicizing Difference in Global Subjectivities,” examines the historical, temporal, and geopolitical foundations of identity and subject formation and the locations of their contestation.   We aim to unearth and interrogate emerging perspectives on not only the histories of various formulations of difference, but also methods for reinterpreting or reimagining their deployments with and through each other. Taking as a premise the constant recurrence of the “global” within discourses of historical intersections between cultures, we are interested in the ways in which the concept of “difference” is constructed, packaged, disbursed, and consumed within a wide variety of discursive structures, and how that concept contributes to the construction of subjectivities. In seeking to interrogate the processes of formulating differences of subjectivity over time, this conference also draws on a variety of methodologies for imagining history, of theorizing the global, and the in/accuracies of the very concept of “subjectivity.”  Such a focus also brings into the foreground histories of the present, and possible modes of understanding contemporary global communities as both constitutive of, and constructing, history.

This conference will focus on these intersectional concepts with an eye toward the transnational, looking beyond simple formulations of difference and identity and expanding the range of narratives used to describe the emergence of difference.  Such an aim emerges out of the call of transnational critics to analyze various historical instantiations of the concept of the “global.” These methodological and content-based concerns produce a number of critical questions: What are the relationships between identities and difference across time? Are historical fluxes determined by constructions of the global, or do they direct those constructions?  What are the limits to expressing and understanding any particular subjectivity insofar as it is conditioned or influenced by the historical moment and global positioning? Are there historical subjectivities more or less determined by global perspectives?  We invite submissions that engage these and other questions and critiques about the emergence of difference within global contexts.  In particular, this conference seeks papers that interrogate the methods of imagining history and subjectivity at the various sites of subjectivity, and strive to acknowledge the interplay between individual histories, geopolitical spaces, and the fluxes proper to each.


To submit a paper for review, please email with your name, school, and a 500-word abstract of your paper. Abstracts are due March 1st.

Please visit “Shifting Tides, Anxious Borders” on Facebook for further details.


Potential Topics Include:

  • Border Politics and the Production of Trans-Border Identities
  • The (De) Construction of National Identity
  • War, Stability, and the Impossibility of Subjectivity
  • The Exchange of Subjectivity and Global Capital
  • The Construction of Post- and Anti- Colonial Subjectivities
  • Differentiating Racial Identity
  • The Globalization of Gender Norms
  • The Policing of Global Subjectivity
  • American Exceptionalism and the Production of National Identity
  • The Arab Spring and the Deployment of Subjectivity
  • The Transoceanic Slave Trade
  • Queering National Subjectivity
  • Global Governance, the European Union, and the Construction of Transnational Sovereignty
  • The Nation State in Opposition to Globalization
  • The Global/ Local of Citizenship and its Impacts on Communities
  • Technology and the Production of Global Community
  • Global English and Literary Production
  • Sexual and National Instabilities
  • Global Diasporas and the Limits of Subjectivity
  • Transnational States and Hybrid Subjectivities
  • Poly-lingual Subjects and National Identity
  • Global Racial Histories
  • Multi-lingual Literature and the Construction of History
  • The Emergence of the Literary and the Emergence of the Global