New book series: Critical Insurgencies: A Book Series of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association

Published by Northwestern University Press-- click here for press webpage

Critical Insurgencies: A Book Series of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association brings an interdisciplinary community of activists, academics, artists, independent scholars, and media makers together to forge new theoretical and political practices to—unsettle the nation state, neoliberalism, carcerality, settler colonialism, western hegemony, legacies of slavery, colonial racial formations and gender binaries, ableism, and challenge all forms of oppression and state violence—for generative future imaginings.

This series seeks to interrogate what it means to do critical ethnic studies work within, outside, and across a variety of locations, such as in education and the academy, community organizing, the arts and media, mass movements, intimate spaces, and more.  Since theory and practice reside in multiple geographies and through multiple genres of work, Critical Insurgencies will engage diverse readerships and generate conversations that resist the ways that ethnic studies work can be limited by the historic separation between academic writing and popular texts.

The series invites monographs, field guides, keyword texts, anthologies, contributed volumes, and hybrid and experimental formats that take the intersection of academic / activist / artistic praxis as a key site of interrogation, transformation, and insurgency. Submissions that consider what ethnic studies looks like beyond the United States are strongly encouraged.

Key themes of the series:

  • Settler colonialism, white supremacy, slavery, and immigration

  • Feminist of color, indigenous, and queer and trans of color methodologies and practices

  • Academic and nonprofit industrial complexes, grassroots organizing, social movements, resistance, and protest

  • Critical disability epistemologies

  • Activist and radical pedagogies

  • Policing, criminalization, and carcerality

  • Neoliberalism, privatization, critiques of development, precarity of labor, extraction, exploitation, and environmental violence

  • Anti-black violence, anti-Muslim racism, xenophobia, and indigenous erasure

  • Gender and sexual violence, heteropatriarchy, and reproductive regulation

  • Land rights, housing, sovereignty, landlessness, and complex relationships to land and home sustainable development

  • Displacement, dispossession, gentrification, and forced migration

  • Diasporic and transnational organizing

  • Decolonization, autonomy, sovereignty, and indigenous political thought

Proposals and inquiries can be sent to Gianna Mosser, Acquisitions Editor, Northwestern University Press,

About the Editors

Michelle M. Wright is Professor of African American Studies and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University where she focuses on Black European and diaspora studies. Her previous publications include Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology (2015) and Becoming Black: Creating Identity in the African Diaspora (2004).

Jodi A. Byrd is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and Associate Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois. Her focus is on indigenous studies, indigenous and postcolonial literatures, and critical technology studies. Her previous publications have appeared in journals such as Settler Colonial Studies, American Quarterly, Studies in American Indian Literatures, and her monograph, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism, was published in 2011.

About CESA

The Critical Ethnic Studies Association is a transnational, interdisciplinary, and un-disciplinary association of scholars, activists, students, artists, media makers, educators, and others who are directly concerned with interrogating the limitations of Ethnic Studies in order to better engage the historical stakes of the field and the development of community-based knowledges and radical resistances. CESA organizes projects and programs to reimagine Ethnic Studies and its futures through new theoretical interventions—both within the university and the multiple activist formations outside it. CESA aims to develop an approach to scholarship, institution building, community-building, and activism animated by the spirit of the decolonial, anti-racist, anti-sexist, and other global liberationist movements that enabled the creation of Ethnic Studies and which continues to inform its political and intellectual projects.


“Save this for your autobiography”

Part 2 in our series on Writing Advice. To read part 1, click here

By: Thomas Michael Swensen, Colorado State University  

When I was 26 I started at a community college with aspirations to learn how to become an architect. Not just any architect, but one who designed and built sets for rock bands like Mark Fisher. Along with a drafting course, and one in creative writing, I enrolled in the course “Race, Class, and Gender in Film.” As an introduction to academic prose, I read the articles “Erotic Autonomy as a Politics of Decolonization: An Anatomy of Feminist and State Practice” by M. Jacqui Alexander and, “More Human Than I Am Alone: Womb Envy in David Cronenberg’s the Fly and Dead Ringers,” by Helen W. Robbins. Though I’d written punk songs, short plays, and fictional stories previous to this course yet the deft work of academic writing drew me in a way that these other forms hadn’t.

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Academic life is unfortunately full of unpaid, unrecognized labour. So much of what we do is for expected to be done for ‘free’, being outside of our job descriptions and time that we’re actually paid for. February, though the shortest month, is smack dab in the middle of the semester and can feel like the most demanding.

In an effort to reveal just how much free work we do in the academy, and maybe co-commiserate, we’re asking you to keep a list of all of the free work you do in February for the CES blog. (Yes, we know this is ironically adding a bit to your pile for February!) We’ll post all of these lists on the Critical Ethnic Studies blog in March as ‘listicles’. You can also tweet parts of your list using #freeworkfeb

Get in touch, and submit your list at or tweet us at @CESJournal using the hashtag #freeworkfeb

Developing a Daily Writing Habit: Writing as Process

Part 1 in our series on writing advice. Want to share the best advice you've received on writing? Sign up here

By: Jillian Paragg, University of Alberta

I look at what I write so I can see what I think - W.H. Auden

We all engage in writing as part of our academic lives, yet it seems that it is something that is not discussed in the Academy as often as it should beAs I enter the final stages of my graduate program and writing my dissertation I realize that I have learned a lot over the past five years about the writing process. Firstly, I have learned that it is exactly that: a process. And secondly, it is a process for everyone. No one, not even the most seasoned writer, sits down at their computer (or with whatever they use to write) and within the course of a few hours, produces a final draft. Ideas take time to form, and writing itself is one of the best ways to play with, shape and develop them.

This realization has been incredibly liberating for me. In my first few years as a graduate student I was so stuck on the idea that everyone but me always knew exactly what they were trying to say and how they wanted to say it. The writing process feels so hidden, because almost all anyone ever sees are perfected, finalized and published pieces. Maybe some people do approach writing that way, but I have come to realize that I form my ideas through writing, and often times I do not even know what I am trying to say until I have written an entire paper or chapter (which is when I go back and write the introduction!)

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