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Featured Speakers

Keynote Address: Sara Ahmed
Friday, November 13, 2015 at 7 PM
Wisconsin Center, Ballroom CD

Sara Ahmed is Professor of Race and Cultural Studies and Director of the Centre for Feminist Research at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work is concerned with how bodies and worlds take shape; and how power is secured and challenged in everyday life worlds, as well as institutional cultures. Publications include: Difference that Matter: Feminist Theory and Postmodernism (1998); Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality (2000); The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2004, 2014), Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (2006); The Promise of Happiness (2010); On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012) and Willful Subjects (2014). She is currently finishing a book,Living a Feminist Life (some of this material is being worked through on her blog, and has begun a new research project on “the uses of use.” 

Plenary Session: Precarity and the Politics of Nation: Settler States, Borders, Sovereignty
Friday, November 13, 1-2:30 PM
Wisconsin Center, Ballroom CD

Jodi A. Byrd is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and associate professor of American Indian Studies and English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism (Minnesota, 2011). Her articles have appeared in American Indian Quarterly, Cultural Studies Review, Interventions, J19, College Literatures, Settler Colonial Studies Studies, and American Quarterly. Her teaching and research focuses on issues of indigeneity, gender, and sexuality at the intersections of political studies, postcolonial studies, queer studies, and comparative ethnic studies. Her current manuscript in process, entitled Indigenomicon: American Indians, Videogames, and Structures of Genre, interrogates how the structures of digital code intersect with issues of sovereignty, militarism, and colonialism. 
Lisa Marie Cacho is an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in Latina/Latino Studies and Asian American Studies with affiliations in Gender and Women’s Studies, English, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Cacho’s book, Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected (NYU press, 2012) won the John Hope Franklin award in 2013 for best book in American Studies. The book examines how illegality, criminality, and social death work interdependently to assign and deny human value and to render relations of inequality normative and natural in both dominant and oppositional discourses. She has also published in the edited collections Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of U.S. Citizenship and Strange Affinities: The Sexual and Gendered Politics of Comparative Racialization
Jasbir K. Puar is Associate Professor of Women's & Gender Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Duke University Press 2007), winner of the Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. A redacted version in French was published as Homonationalisme. Politiques queers après le 11 Septembre, (Editions Amsterdam, 2012).

Her edited volumes include a special issue of GLQ ("Queer Tourism: Geographies of Globalization") and co-edited volumes of Society and Space ("Sexuality and Space"), Social Text (“Interspecies”), and Women’s Studies Quarterly (“Viral”).

She also writes for The Guardian, Huffington Post, Art India, The Feminist Review, Bully Bloggers, Jadaliyya, and Oh! Industry. Her writings have been translated into Polish, French, German, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Japanese, Spanish, and Danish. Her publications can be found at

Professor Puar was the Edward Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut for 2012-13 and a Fellow at the Society for Humanities Institute at Cornell University for 2013-14.

Puar’s other major awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, a Ford Foundation grant, and the 2013 Modern Languages Association Gay Lesbian/Queer Caucus Michael Lynch Award in recognition of her years of scholar-activist work. She has also received awards from the Graduate School of Rutgers University and the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools for her teaching.

Puar’s forthcoming monograph, States of Debility and Capacity (Duke University Press, 2016) takes up the relations between biopolitics, disability, and forms of active debilitation pivotal to the operations of war machines and racial capitalism. The book will appear in a new series, ANIMA, which she co-edits with Mel Chen. 

Plenary Session: Action/Resistance/Action: Intersectional Activism and Praxis
Saturday, November 14, 1-2:30 PM
Wisconsin Center, Ballroom CD

Karma R. Chávez is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Arts and affiliate in the Program in Chican@ and Latin@ Studies and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is co-editor of Standing in the Intersection: Feminist Voices, Feminist Practices (with Cindy L. Griffin, SUNY Press, 2012), and author of Queer Migration Politics: Activist Rhetoric and Coalitional Possibilities (University of Illinois Press, 2013). Karma is also a member of the radical queer collective Against Equality, an organizer for LGBT Books to Prisoners, and a host of the radio program, "A Public Affair" on Madison's community radio station, 89.9 FM WORT.

Nirmala Erevelles is Professor of Social and Cultural Studies in Education at the University of Alabama.  Her teaching and research interests lie in the areas of disability studies, critical race theory, transnational feminism, sociology of education, and postcolonial studies. Erevelles has published articles in the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Theory, Studies in Education and Philosophy, the Journal of Curriculum Studies, Teachers College Record, Disability & Society, Disability Studies Quarterly, & the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, among others.  Her book, Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Towards a Transformative Body Politic was published by Palgrave in November 2012.

Mia Mingus is a writer, community educator and organizer working for disability justice and transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. She is a queer physically disabled Korean woman transracial and transnational adoptee, born in Korea, raised in the Caribbean, nurtured in the U.S. South, and now living in Oakland, California. She works for community, interdependency and home for all of us, not just some of us, and longs for a world where disabled children can live free of violence, with dignity and love. As her work for liberation evolves and deepens, her roots remain firmly planted in ending sexual violence. Mia is a core-member of the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective (BATJC), a local collective working to build and support transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse that do not rely on the state (e.g. police, prisons, the criminal legal system). Her work, on disability justice is widely used and cited across educational, activist and political spaces. Her writing can be found at