Edited by Chris A Eng and Amy K King, this first of a two-part forum identifies and contemplates the emergent potential of four analytics for imagining alternative humanities. Structuring thought across disciplines, these analytics resonate strongly with the specific ways that cultural studies shifted, developed, and refined its ideas and focus: J. Kēhaulani Kauanui takes up settler colonialism; Kyla Wazana Tompkins, New Materialism; Julie Avril Minich, disability; and Jodi Melamed, institutionality.
Amy K King and Chris A Eng
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui discusses the distinctive shifts toward examining Patrick Wolfe’s theory of settler colonialism as ‘a structure, not an event.’ Kauanui argues that a substantive engagement with settler colonialism also demands a deep rethinking of the associated concept of indigeneity–distinct from race, ethnicity, culture, and nation(ality)–along with the field of Native American and Indigenous Studies.
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui
Kyla Wazana Tompkins questions the structures informing claims of newness posed by discussions of “New Materialism.” She discusses the troubling ways in which these discourses, in turning toward the post- or non-human, can ironically reinforce assumptions about a universal human subject and elide considerations of gender, race, and power.
Kyla Wazana Tompkins
Advising against the potential ways in which scholarship might take up disability by fetishizing difference and reaffirming dominant models of able-bodiedness, Julie Avril Minich calls for work to be first and foremost accountable to people with disabilities: this means making knowledge accessible. In order for knowledge to be accessible, Minich stresses, the labor of accessibility must be addressed on an institutional level.
Julie Avril Minich
Jodi Melamed reassesses the analytic of institutionality, which has largely been theorized as a dominant tool of the university in incorporating the emergent and muting the oppositional. In particular, Melamed identifies dominant discussions of institutionality that see global neoliberalism as a new, all-totalizing force. Instead, by reassessing the historical conditions of racial capitalism that make possible the ‘global,’ Melamed also excavates a genealogy of radical resistance that might allow us to rethink institutionality toward collective solidarity.
Call for responses to a special forum, “Emergent Critical Analytics for Alternative Humanities,” edited by Chris A. Eng and Amy K. King. Lateral invites responses to Part I of this forum, especially from students, junior faculty, and other emerging scholars; these will be the foundation for Part II, to be published in Lateral 6.