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Kalamazoo College
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Conference Concept

We intend to bring together those whose work envisions an imaginative, robust, plentiful, and just future. We invite conversations across disciplines and from varied social locations among academics, organic intellectuals, frontline organizers, climate change and peace activist and more.

Format

This CONFERENCE – [UN]CONFERENCE will feature four modules designed to prompt collective visioning how we might de-colonize, theorize, map and conjure a future we can all thrive in.  Each module will include a panel discussion followed by both formal and informal breakout sessions. The conference will also feature films, art and performances.

Because the process of collective visioning will be a key component of this conference, the expectation and hope is that all participants will stay for the entirety of the conference. It is the hope that the conference will build on knowledge and relationships built in the previous sessions to create a full weekend of visioning, mapping, and power building together.

Module Topics

  • In 1993, Mark Dery coined an aesthetic, Afrofuturism. Today it is an exquisite and expansive narration of post-oppression desire, rooted in a “B[l]ack to the Future” sankofa archive of Africa and the African Diaspora.  Largely set in fantasy, film, technology and speculative fiction, how does this mo(ve)ment reveal truths and create spaces for renderings of quantum thinking on freedom more broadly?
  • In 1969, Vine Deloria penned his manifesto, Custer Died For Your Sins, and in 1973 he declared God is Red. Today, upending colonial knowledge and a reframing of action research is central to Indigenous, Feminists and Critical Ethnic Studies. Is the call for anti-racist universities, and the struggle against high stake testing and the privatization of schools also a desire for epistemic liberation? What might de-colonialized educational structures and paradigms look like?
  • In 1988, former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Dr. James Hansen warned of the consequences of global warming. Today, virtually all climatologists are convinced that “global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.” From the Pope’s encyclical to calls for a renewable energy [r]evolution, what ideologies and technologies can liberate us from extraction economies and life-killing pollution practices? We invite those envisioning a sustainable future to come and share their work.
  • In 1955, in Bandung, Indonesia, 29 nations of color came together to discuss a “third” way beyond the cold war stasis. Since 1990 and the fall of the USSR, neo-liberalism has outpaced other economic models. Today, the privatization of the public sphere, deregulation of corporate interest and tax cuts to global 1% is leading to the greatest concentration of wealth in history and deepest inequality and poverty in centuries. We invite those who are theorizing “next systems” and deploying new economic possibilities and strategies to share their movements and innovations with us.