Imagined Community Organizing

Pardon the late notice, but for anyone who can attend, I’ll be talking today at Tufts at the annual conference of the Transnational Studies Working Group, which this year gathers around the theme: “The Sights and Sounds of Transnationalism: Sensing Through the Nation-State” (pdf).

I’m happy to report that I’ve been asked to speak as part of a “keynote panel” at noon. Even more exciting, especially given the setting, I’m thrilled to have been invited to talk about, when it comes down to it, my favorite form of publication: this here blog. Importantly, this means that I’ll also be noting the crucial participation of all you dear readers and interlocutors, who I think of — even and especially in contentious moments — as a strong, supportive, and engaged community.

My talk is called “Imagined Community Organizing: Research Blogging as Transnational Address” (I had to add the subtitle later, fyi), and the first part of the title is an idea I’ve been playing with for a few months now (and using as a self-description here and on Twitter). Of course, me being me, I couldn’t resist a semi-self-deprecating pun, and so obviously I plan to examine the ways that I conceive of my blogging (and social media/ting more generally) both as a form of “organizing” around imagined communities (e.g., via hip-hop, reggae, reggaeton) and as an “imagined” form of community organizing.

I’ll also feel compelled to note the irony that my efforts in this realm, despite obvious enthusiasm among some academic peers, don’t (yet) really seem to count according to hiring committees. I’ve been taking some risks with this blog over the years, no doubt, and the departments I tend to apply to don’t appear ready to take certain risks themselves. See you on the other side of the sea change. (But I’ll save the semi-annual talk of my imminent joblessness for another post!)

Srsly, thanks to all of you for the affirmation and engagement that keeps me going.