“Fearful Futures: Cultural Studies and the Question of Agency in the Twenty-First Century”

We have reached a moment in international history that is one of potential paradigm shift. It is a moment when a problematic, but at least blandly progressivist, pro-multiculturalist movement toward “cosmopolitanism” (as Kwame Anthony Appiah might use the term) is being threatened by a far more destructive and potentially genocidal ethno-nationalism, the ferocity of which is fuelled by economic disparity, religious intolerance and retrograde ideologies regarding gender, race and sexuality. The possible global futures we face are fearful, indeed.

In this context, cultural studies has a unique role to play in tracing the genealogy of the present moment and charting different paths forward. As never before, cultural studies is called to return to its activist roots, to diagnose the ideologies driving hatred and intolerance, and to posit different models of social engagement and organization. Looking to the past, what do we learn about the challenges of today? How does culture replicate itself (or critically engage itself) in the classroom, in literature, in social media, in film, in the visual and theatrical arts, in the family and among peer groups? How do we rise to the challenge of articulating a notion of human rights that also respects cultural difference? How do cultural representations of the environment abet or challenge the forces driving climate change? What are the roles and responsibilities of the individual activist as teacher, writer, social scientist and community member?

This international and interdisciplinary conference will bring together a range of academics, independent researchers, artists and activists to explore the challenges that we face in the twenty-first century. While we have every right to fear the future, we also have agency in creating that future. Can we commit to a cosmopolitanism that celebrates difference and that challenges social inequity? On our ability to answer to that question affirmatively likely hangs our very survival.

The organisers encourage submissions that approach the conference theme from a variety of perspectives. However, the submission of other topics for consideration is welcome and we also encourage sessions within and across a variety of interdisciplinary and theoretical perspectives. Abstracts should address one or more of the streams listed on the Call for Papers page, identifying a relevant sub-theme.

The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies 2018 (ACCS2018) will be held alongside The Asian Conference on Asian Studies 2018 (ACAS2018). Registration for either conference will allow delegates to attend sessions in the other.

In conjunction with our Global Partners, including Osaka University (Japan), Lehigh University – College of Arts & Sciences (USA) and the University of Barcelona (Spain), we look forward to extending you a warm welcome in 2018.

The ACCS2018 Organising Committee

Professor Donald E. Hall, Lehigh University, USA
Professor Emerita Sue Ballyn, Barcelona University, Spain
Professor Baden Offord, Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University, Australia & Cultural Studies Association of Australasia
Dr Seiko Yasumoto, University of Sydney, Australia
Dr Joseph Haldane, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), Japan

Key Information
  • Location & Venue: Art Center Kobe, Kobe, Japan
  • Dates: Friday, June 01, 2018 ​to Sunday, June 03, 2018
  • Conference Theme: “Fearful Futures: Cultural Studies and the Question of Agency in the Twenty-First Century”
  • Early Bird Abstract Submission Deadline: January 12, 2018*
  • Final Abstract Submission Deadline: March 12, 2018
  • Registration Deadline for Presenters: April 13, 2018

*Submit early to take advantage of the discounted registration rates. Learn more about our registration options.