Archive for January, 2010

Conference Organizer Report Back

January 5, 2010

Circle a

Organizer Report-back from the Inaugural North American Studies Network Conference

Jesse Cohn, Luis Fernandez, Nathan Jun, Deric Shannon, Abbey Willis

November 21st and 22nd marked the dates of the Inaugural North American Anarchist Studies Network Conference in Hartford, Connecticut. We came together to organize this conference in order to begin the development of this larger project–the network–which we hope will serve as a space for the development of intellectual work on and within anarchism. Further, in the organizing committee, the conference, and the network we have consciously included academics as well as grassroots scholars. As anarchists, we feel that academic institutions should not have a privileged role in the production of knowledge and hope that the network can serve as a point of rupture with the notion that intellectual work is limited to academic institutions.

The conference drew around 300-350 participants over the course of the two days of the conference. The numbers of panels, workshops, and paper presentations were well beyond our expectations and this cannot be stressed enough in conference attendance (we expected somewhere between 80-120 people). Since the conference, through the email list, we have seen the development of two working groups: one centered around anarchist cultural studies and another on archiving anarchist work. The website for the network is being developed through the current blog site and members of the network have started an initiative for popular education (to be announced).