Risky Places: Geographies of Race and Risk
Session type: 

We seek interdisciplinary papers for a proposed panel at the 2019 American Studies Association conference investigating the overlapping geographies of race and risk. While scholars have primarily emphasized risk as a modality of liberal governance and a technology of rule, our approach considers the Janus-faced character of risk as possible emancipatory performance—a rejection of propriety—and risk as a key technique through which regimes of surveillance (Browne 2015), calculation (McKittrick 2014; Snorton 2017), and security (Masco 2014) operate. If, as Stuart Hall (1978) and Judith Butler (2006) teach us, moral panics have a history, how do genealogies of race provide the conditions of possibility for delimiting risk in the modern world? What are the paradigmatic subjects and sites of riskiness? And paradoxically, can one revel in risk and risk-taking (Bailey 2016; Scott 2010)? Can one learn to live with and through the inherent riskiness of racial subjectivity? We seek to conceptualize modalities of risk that bridge multiple places: the bathhouse and the prison (Dean 2009; Gilmore 2009); hurricane-affected islands (Bonilla 2018; LeBrón 2017); contaminated human and other-than-human environments (Agard-Jones 2014; Chen 2012). We question how risk is measured and represented, following recent interventions within Black and Post/De-Colonial Studies that interrogate how racial/sexual “Others” are rendered ontologically risky (Ferguson 2004; Hunt 2014; Jackson 2014; Somerville 2000). We seek papers that work across multiple disciplinary fields, including: Geography; Visual Studies; Science and Technology Studies; Art History; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Postcolonial and De-Colonial Studies; Surveillance and Security Studies. 

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to Jamal Batts (jbatts@berkeley.edu) and Brittany Meché (brittany.meche@berkeley.edu) by January 27th, 2019.

Possible Paper Themes:

Risk-taking, Riskiness, Queer and Gendered Performances of Risk;
Panic, Danger, and Affects of Risk;
Calculation, Measurement, and Indices of Risk;
Health, Disease, Risk as Embodiment;
Race, Ecology, and Materialities of Place;
Surveillance and Spaces of Risk: Borders, Frontiers, Prisons, Plantations;
Racial Formation, Beloved Community, and Emancipatory Place-Making with and beyond Risk.

Current contributors: 
Jamal Batts
Brittany Meché
Panel contact: