States beyond states
Damien Bright (University of Chicago)
Roy Kimmey (University of Chicago)
Ligertwood 231
Friday 15 December, 11:00-12:00, 13:30-14:30 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

What kind of a State leaves no trace? What does it mean to be in a State of non-being? To envision, strive, thrive, and make a life beyond the gaze of the State? This panel approaches the relations of animacy, activity and value capacitated by States of being that defy Stateness and the State.

Long abstract:

Can one be in a State that leaves no trace? What does it mean to have a life without being in legible relation to forms of marking, writing, or inscription that denote the very categories and processes through which States operate (citizenship, voting, property, sedentarization, etc.)? What modes of living in, in between and in relation to States follow and how do these remain available to ethnographic, historiographic, political or philosophical description? This panel will discuss such States beyond States. It interrogates the shifting conceptions of time, space, personhood, memory, language and politics required to make sense of radical changes of State, forms of Statelessness, and proximity with States of non-being. It invites theoretical questions, varyingly psychoanalytic (the death drive or the Symbolic), political theoretic (the State of Nature as prior to the nature/culture divide), political economic (primitive accumulation and accumulation by dispossession), or philosophical (the transcendental and the eschaton). It also invites empirical questions about making a life beyond or within State lines (e.g. political borders, economic corridors, disputed territories), laboring with, against or amidst non-life (e.g. mass extinction, settler colonialism, misrepresentation), acting in the name of revolution or utopia. This panel welcomes contributions from anthropologists, political theorists, activists, and artists in the form of traditional papers, poetic texts, and experimental portfolios, presentations or performances.