Dear Mark Twain Forum Members,
The Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College is hosting its annual
Quarry Farm Symposium during the Fall 2022 semester, from September 30th to
October 1st, organized around the theme of Abolition Studies.
Please send 300-word paper abstracts and either a CV or biographical
statement to Jesse A. Goldberg ([log in to unmask]) and Nancy K.
Quintanilla ([log in to unmask]) by Dec 31, 2021.
This year’s Keynote Address will be delivered by Sarah Haley, author of *No
Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity*.
The annual symposium gathers scholars from various fields each year around
a theme related to Mark Twain studies or the nineteenth-century more
broadly and is held at the historic Quarry Farm site in Elmira, NY. The
Center is currently planning for the 2022 gathering to be an in-person
event, and will be monitoring the conditions of the continuously evolving
pandemic over the course of the next twelve months leading up to the
weekend of the symposium.
We seek to take an intentionally transhistorical approach to the field of
abolition studies through panels and discussions that attend to the *long
duree* of abolitionist thought, activism, and organizing from the 19th to
the 21st centuries. While there is robust scholarship on movements to
abolish chattel slavery in the US before 1865, and there is growing
interest – both scholarly and popular – in late 20th- and 21st-century
prison and police abolition, this symposium will look to explicitly bring
these two historical epochs into conversation across what Saidya Hartman
has called “the nonevent of emancipation” towards richer analysis of, for
example, carcerality, rights, social and civil death, enclosure, and
criminalization. We are especially interested in presentations that
rigorously trouble the very notion of continuity, recognizing both the
persistence of what Douglas A. Blackmon has called “slavery by another
name” as well as the continuing “acts of resistance and sabotage” against
racial terror and carceral capture identified by Sarah Haley and others
occurring in the decades of transition from the late 19th to the early 20th
century. That is, we invite analysis not only of forces of capture but also
With this long history of mechanisms of captivity and modes of radical
resistance in mind, this symposium will emphasize the interconnecting
relationship between abolitionist movements working against the enduring
legacies of U.S. racism in carceral forms from the 19th to the 21st
centuries. And in recognition of recent insightful work in the field of
critical prison and carcerality studies by thinkers including Ruth Wilson
Gilmore, Erica Meiners, Liat Ben-Moshe, Kelly Lytle Hernández, Harsha
Walia, Savannah Shange, Luana Ross, Eric Stanley, and others, we seek to
enrich understandings of how carceral logics and institutions develop and
expand across time to iterate in ever greater spaces of both public and
- We welcome proposals that explore the developments of abolitionist
movements in the U.S. as they reveal a *long duree* of resistance
against state-sponsored captivity and confinement.
- We welcome papers that engage with carceral spaces beyond jails and
prisons, such as immigrant detention centers, concentration camps, or
juvenile corrections facilities.
- We welcome analysis of transnational movements for resistance.
- We welcome broadened definitions of “imprisonment, captivity,
confinement, or detainment.”
- We welcome critical interrogations of alternative justice models and
their deployment (i.e. transformative and restorative justice), especially
investigations of both historical and contemporary models.
- We welcome papers that explore the relationship between racial
capitalism and prison abolition.
- We welcome critiques of carcerality in the age of surveillance.
- We welcome papers on practices of medical criminalization.
- We welcome papers on the criminalization of disability, gender, and
sexuality as they intersect with race, ethnicity, and class.
- We welcome papers that both help clarify and challenge the continuity
of carceral violence across the historical period from the Thirteenth
Amendment to today.
- We welcome presentations by thinkers working in and across various
fields, including literary studies, history, political theory, sociology,
geography, and others, as well as interdisciplinary fields such as ethnic
studies, black studies, indigenous studies, queer studies, critical
carceral studies, science and technology studies, and surveillance studies
We especially welcome presentations by formerly-incarcerated writers and
thinkers, as well as collaboratively-authored pieces by those behind and
outside the walls of prisons, jails, or detention centers.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
*Joseph Lemak, PhD*
Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies
Assistant Professor of History
Rose Office, Cowles Hall
Elmira, New York 14901
O: (607) 735-1941
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