EVENT Dec 06
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Liveable Futures: Radical Imagination as Method // Radical Imagination as Survival

Organization: Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture and Social Justice
Categories: Pedagogy, Gender & Sexuality, Women's Studies, Cultural Studies
Event Date: 2024-12-06 Abstract Due: 2024-05-17

Erin Fredericks, Associate Professor, Sociology, St. Thomas University
Alex Khasnabish, Professor, Sociology & Anthropology, Mount Saint Vincent University
Ardath Whynacht, Associate Professor, Sociology, Mount Allison University

How can we find the footing to imagine an alternate world when the one we are standing in is on fire? How can we envision futures that are safe when many of us are under attack by transphobic, homophobic, racist, and misogynistic political movements in Canada?

As a flailing neoliberal status quo is challenged by a resurgent populist right, how can we engage in research that helps us find the footing we need to envision liveable futures?

How are our imaginations enclosed, suppressed, and conscripted? By whom? In whose interests and with what consequences? And what is the role of research and scholarship in co-imagining liveable futures? These are some of the questions we invite prospective contributors to consider.

This thematic issue aims to facilitate a dialogue about the radical imagination as conceptual territory and method both within and beyond Gender and Sexuality studies. As issue editors, we recognize the necessity of a social science and community praxis that engages the imagination—an approach that requires us to reach beyond the boundaries of our disciplines, academic institutions, and methodological traditions. Psychologists narrowly debate the nature of time by describing foreshortened futures as a post-trauma ‘symptom,’ while mental health researchers such as Jeffrey Ansloos (2018) and Vicki Reynolds (2016) point to a need to consider social justice and the impacts of settler colonialism in our efforts for suicide prevention. We seek to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue about the oppressive structures that shape our desire to reach towards a future, to become in a world not built for us. What makes us want to survive?

In the social sciences, we talk about participatory action research or arts-based methods. Artists participate in what funding agencies call research-creation. What kinds of relations do we build when we co-imagine worlds beyond our current one and what kind of vulnerability or intimacy is forged in this imagining? How does all of this work creatively engage with what Haiven and Khasnabish (2014) call the “radical imagination” as a call to a liveable future in times that are increasingly filled with doom. Indebted to decolonial theory, Afrofuturism, queer theory, trans studies, militant ethnography, abolition feminism, crip and critical disability studies, critical suicidology, affect theory, and diverse legacies of scholar-activism, we invite contributors to consider how scholars across the social sciences and humanities engage the radical imagination as a vital act in our survival and step in the direction of a liveable future.

We especially welcome research papers (up to 7000 words), interviews (up to 3000 words), and creative submissions (please contact Editors before submitting) that explore:

• The role of arts-based or research-creation approaches in transformative social research
• Research projects and practices grounded in an ethics of care and vulnerability, particularly with respect to children, young people, and other marginalized populations
• Social movements as spaces for imagining and living alternatives to the status quo
• The radical imagination as a lived, material, and collective activity that can survive on the boundaries of academic research and teaching



Katherine Barrett (Managing Editor)