“Working to Live: Immunocapital in Systems of Knowledge Production”
Proposed Publication Date: Winter 2022
Deadline: November 29, 2021
This special issue of the Anthropology of Work Review calls for contributions that explore capitalist immunities and dynamics of surviving work in systems of knowledge production. Kathryn Olivarius (2019) defines immunocapital as the social, economic and political power and privilege that certain populations have based on their socially implicated and biological conditions of immunity from lethal conditions and agents of harm. This issue expands upon Olivarius’ concept to open up a broader discussion in the anthropology of work on the survival tactics of privilege and power that individuals and institutions use to build up immunities—real, performed, and imagined—in academia and other sites of knowledge production.
Human and nonhuman labor are integral to the infrastructural spaces and lifeways in which knowledge is produced, valued, and disseminated. From the transnational extractive tactics of the imperial university (Chatterjee and Maira 2014) and higher education’s “plantation politics” (Williams and Tuitt 2021) to global markets of learning (Harney and Moten 2013), neocolonial regimes of data mining and labor organization (Amrute and Murillo 2020; Couldry and Mejias 2019), and calls for a third world university (la paperson 2017), enslavement and settler colonialism's enduring and exploitative projects of racial capitalism (Robinson 1983; Jenkins and Leroy 2021) continue to thrive in the worlds of work that knowledge production requires. Today’s conditions of financial austerity, labor organizing, predation, gig work, data extraction, and digital inequity reveal knowledge work’s historical role in structuring projects of enslavement, dispossession, militarized occupation, and genocide. Redlining, missionary and residential schooling, carceral labor, attacks on critical race theory, longstanding patterns of researching and denying access to vaccines and other products of knowledge, and the funding of scientific racism continue to inform the geographic, theoretical and methodological paths of struggles for educational justice, academic freedom, abolition, reparations, and repair. Studying labor practices and work experiences in systems of knowledge production makes clear the historically constitutive relationships between oppressions based on race, ethnicity, caste, religion, and indigeneity and capitalism’s investments in bodily immunities and materialities (Ambedkar 2014; Carsten 2019; Kauanui 2008; Mosse 2018; Shah 2001; Trouillot 1995; Varma 2020). With these relationships in mind, this special issue calls for further investigation about how these tactics of exploitation shapeshift (Cox 2015) and show up in homes, classrooms, workplaces, publics, and educational systems (Shange 2019; Sojoyner 2016; Zambrana 2018).
What enables or supports individual and collective forms of access to social, economic, and political forms of capital in systems of learning, education and knowledge creation? What are the new and surprising ways that capitalism has shown itself as immune to its competing logics in academic settings? Given the centrality of labor to wealth-accumulating complexes of enslavement, caste oppression, militarized state violence, and settler colonialism, how are contemporary forms of immunocapital investing in sites and projects of knowledge production? What kinds of tactics of surveillance, labor exploitation, radical care and collective survival facilitate and challenge its value in the production of knowledge? Finally, how can investigations of immunocapital’s diverse pathways expand anthropological understandings of what it means to work and survive in knowledge work systems today?
We welcome submissions that name and frame labor practices that undergird immunocapitalisms and their infrastructures of knowledge production. We also welcome articles that foreground research on movements within knowledge-work systems that unsettle and dismantle practices of racial, labor and gender exploitation in transnational and global contexts and that center perspectives of underrepresented and marginalized groups. Submissions may discuss historical and contemporary conditions of labor and work in knowledge-work across and beyond the following political, methodological and ethical arenas:
racialized and gendered labor (Navarro et al. 2013; Tate 2016; Tate and Page 2018); intellectual canon setting (McLaurin 2001; Harrison 2010; Bolles 2013); citational praxis (Ahmed 2017; Cite Black Women n.d.; McKittrick 2021); data sharing and extraction and the politics of location (Al-Bulushi et al. 2020; Gunasekara 2020; Tsosie et al. 2020); research ethics, co-laboring, and collaboration (Benjamin 2016; Günel et al 2020; Harding 2015; Riley and Bezanson 2018; Rodriguez 2001; Smith 2013; Harrison 2012; Visweswaran 1994); caste, class, rank, and hierarchy prestige networks (Kawa 2018; Leighton 2020; Rege 2007; Subramaniam 2019); disability justice (Bailey and Mobley 2019; Block 2020, Friedner and Zoanni 2018; Ginsburg and Rapp 2013, 2020; Schalk 2013); open access (Besky et al. 2021; Brown et al. 2018; Jackson and Anderson 2014); digital and language accessibility (Brodkin et al 2011; Flores 2016; Shulist and Rice 2019; Sarkar 2021); scholar-activist engagements (Bailey and Peoples 2017; Carter 2020; Dhillon and Estes 2016; Mullings 2005; James 2015; West 2005; Finkelstein 2019); academic labor organizing and unionization (McCaffrey et al 2020; Pearson 2015); predation, contingency, and precarity (Berlant 2011; Platzer and Allison 2018; Lyon 2018); invisible labor and care work (Kraemer 2018; Williams 2016); harm and sexual violence in educational settings (Berry et al. 2017; Clancy et al. 2014; Nelson et al. 2017; Prescod-Weinstein 2020; Simpson 2018; Todd 2016); and institutional reparations, repair, and restorative justice work (Morini 2019; Rosa and Díaz 2019; Thomas 2011, 2019; Schirrer 2020).
Submissions can be original research articles, long-form interviews, multimodal, auto-ethnographic, or theoretical in content but should be no more than 8,000 words and uploaded to the Anthropology of Work Review’s ScholarOne portal before midnight PST on November 29, 2021. Contributors are also invited to pitch ideas for supplementary materials to be published in the Society for the Anthropology of Work’s short-form, open access web publication, Exertions. These materials might include media objects or other materials that would help instructors and students to engage with the article more deeply or provide reflections on the relationship between teaching, learning and laboring as an academic. An optional one-page précis may be included as a supplementary document along with the main submission.
Questions and inquiries can be directed to the special issue’s coeditors.
Sareeta Amrute, email@example.com
Mythri Jegathesan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Mythri Jegathesan.
Ahmed, Sara. 2017. Living a Feminist Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Al-Bulushi, Samar, Sahana Ghosh, and Madiha Tahir. 2020. “American Anthropology, Decolonization, and the Politics of Location.” American Anthropologist website, May 28.
Ambedkar, B.R., S. Anand, Arundhati Roy, and Santarama Gandhi. 2014. Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition. London: Verso.
Amrute, Sareeta, and Luis Felipe R. Murillo. 2020. “Introduction: Computing in/from the South.” Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience 6(1).
Bailey, Moya, and Izetta A. Mobley. 2019. “Work in the Intersections: A Black Feminist Disability Framework.” Gender and Society 33(1): 19–40.
_____, and Whitney Peoples. 2017. “Towards a Black Feminist Health Science Studies.” Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience 3(2).
Benjamin, Ruha. 2016. “Informed Refusal: Toward a Justice-Based Bioethics.” Science, Technology, and Human Values 41(6): 967–990.
Berlant, Lauren. 2011. Cruel Optimism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Berry, Maya, Claudia Chávez Argüelles, Shanya Cordis, Sarah Ihmoud, and Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada. 2017. “Toward a Fugitive Anthropology: Gender, Race, and Violence in the Field.” Cultural Anthropology 32(4): 537–65.
Besky, Sarah, Ilana Gershon, Alex Nading, Christopher Nelson, Katie Nelson, Heather Paxson, and Brad Weiss. 2021. “Opening Access to AAA’s Publishing Future.” Member Voices, Fieldsights, June 30.
Block, Pamela. 2020. “Activism, Anthropology, and Disability Studies in Times of Austerity.” Current Anthropology 61(S21): S68–S75.
Bolles, Lynne. 2013. “Telling the Story Straight: Black Feminist Intellectual Thought in Anthropology.” Transforming Anthropology 21(1): 57–71.
Brodkin, Karen, Sandra Morgen, and Janis Hutchinson. 2011. “Anthropology as White Public Space?” American Anthropologist 113(4): 545–56.
Brown, Nina, Marcel LaFlamme, and Sarah Lyon. 2018. “What Happened, or, Impasses and Future Horizons for an Open Anthropology of Work.” Anthropology of Work Review 39(1): 44–47.
Carsten, Janet. 2019. Blood Work: Life and Laboratories in Penang. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Carter, Chelsey R. 2020. “Trauma at Home: A Queer Black Feminist’s Experience in the Afterlife of State-Sanctioned Violence in Ferguson.” American Ethnologist 47(2): 168–172.
Cite Black Women Collective. n.d. “Our Praxis.” Cite Black Women website.
Chatterjee, Piya, and Sunaina Maira, eds. 2014. The Imperial University: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Clancy, Kathryn B.H., Robin G. Nelson, Julienne N. Rutherford, and Katie Hinde. 2014. “Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault.” PLOS ONE 9(7): e102172.
Couldry, Nick, and Ulises A. Mejias. 2019. The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating It for Capitalism. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Cox, Aimee Meredith. 2015. Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Dhillon, Jaskiran, and Nick Estes, eds. 2016. “Standing Rock, #NoDAPL, and Mni Wiconi.” Hot Spots series, Fieldsights, December 22.
Finkelstein, Maura. 2019. “What is a Classroom For? Teaching the Anthropology of Palestine.” Teaching Tools, Fieldsights, May 10.
Flores, Nelson. 2016. “A Tale of Two Visions: Hegemonic Whiteness and Bilingual Education.” Educational Policy 30(1): 13–38.
Friedner, Michele, and Tyler Zoanni. 2018. “Disability from the South: Toward a Lexicon.” Somatosphere, December 17.
Ginsburg, Faye, and Rayna Rapp. 2013. “Disability Worlds.” Annual Review of Anthropology 42: 53–68.
_____. 2020. “Disability/Anthropology: Rethinking the Parameters of the Human: An Introduction to Supplement 21.” Current Anthropology 61(S21): S4–S15.
Gunasekara, Vagisha. 2020. “(Un)packing Baggage: A Reflection on the ‘Battle Over Ideas’ and Labour Hierarchies in Collaborative North–South Research.” European Journal of Development Research 32: 503–513.
Günel, Gökçe, Saiba Varma, and Chika Watanabe. 2020. “A Manifesto for Patchwork Ethnography.” Member Voices, Fieldsights, June 9.
Harding, Sandra. 2015. Objectivity and Diversity: Another Logic of Scientific Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Harney, Stefano, and Fred Moten. 2013. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study. New York: Minor Compositions.
Harrison, Faye V. 2010. “Anthropology as an Agent of Transformation: Introductory Comments and Queries.” In Decolonizing Anthropology: Moving Further Toward an Anthropology for Liberation, 3rd ed., edited by Faye V. Harrison, 1-15. Arlington: American Anthropological Association.
_____. 2012. “Dismantling Anthropology’s Domestic and International Peripheries.” World Anthropologies Network E-Journal 6.
Jackson, Jason B., and Ryan Anderson. 2014. “Anthropology and Open Access.” Cultural Anthropology 29(2): 236–263.
James, Joy. 2013. Seeking the Beloved Community: A Feminist Race Reader. Albany: SUNY Press.
Jenkins, Destin, and Justin Leroy. “Introduction: The Old History of Capitalism.” In Histories of Racial Capitalism, edited by Destin Jenkins and Justin Leroy, 1–26. New York: Columbia University Press.
Kauanui, J. Kehaulani. 2008. Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Kawa, Nicholas C., José A. Clavijo Michelangeli, Jessica L. Clark, Daniel Ginsberg, and Christopher McCarty. 2019. “The Social Network of US Academic Anthropology and Its Inequalities.” American Anthropologist 121(1): 14–29.
Kraemer, Jordan. 2018. “The Invisible Labor of the Academic Job Market.” Member Voices, Fieldsights, February 12.
la paperson. 2017. A Third University is Possible. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Leighton, Mary. 2020. “Myths of Meritocracy, Friendship, and Fun Work: Class and Gender in North American Academic Communities.” American Anthropologist 122(3): 444–458.
Lyon, Sarah. 2018. “The Work of Anthropology Reconsidered: Career Diversity and the Future of Doctoral Education.” Anthropology Work Review 39(1): 26–39.
McCaffrey, Katherine T., Christine Kovic, and Charles R. Menzies. 2020. “On Strike: Student Activism, CUNY, and Engaged Anthropology.” Transforming Anthropology 28(2): 170–183.
McClaurin, Irma. 2001. “Introduction: Forging a Theory, Politics, Praxis, and Poetics of Black Feminist Anthropology." In Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory, Politics, Praxis and Poetics, edited by Irma McClaurin, 1–23. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
McKittrick, Katherine. 2021. Dear Science and Other Stories. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Morini, Ryan S. 2019. “‘What Are We Doing to These Shoshone People?’: The Ontological Politics of a Shoshone Grinding Stone.” American Anthropologist 121(3): 628–640.
Mosse, David. 2018. “Caste and Development: Contemporary Perspectives on a Structure of Discrimination and Advantage.” World Development 110: 422–436.
Mullings, Leith. 2005. “Interrogating Racism: Toward an Antiracist Anthropology.” Annual Review of Anthropology 34: 667–693.
Navarro Tami, Bianca Williams, and Attiya Ahmad. 2013. “Sitting at the Kitchen Table: Fieldnotes from Women of Color in Anthropology.” Cultural Anthropology 28(3): 443–463.
Nelson, Robin G., Julienne N. Rutherford, Katie Hinde, and Kathryn B.H. Clancy. 2017. “Signaling Safety: Characterizing Fieldwork Experiences and Their Implications for Career Trajectories.” American Anthropologist 119(4): 710–722.
Olivarius, Kathryn. 2019. “Immunity, Capital, and Power in Antebellum New Orleans.” American Historical Review 124(2): 425–455.
Pearson, Thomas W. 2015. “Public Anthropology and the Academic Labor Movement: Lessons from the 2011 Wisconsin Uprising.” Anthropology of Work Review 36(2): 52–61.
Platzer, David, and Anne Allison. 2018. “Academic Precarity in American Anthropology.” Member Voices, Fieldsights, February 12.
Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda. 2020. “Making Black Women Scientists under White Empiricism: The Racialization of Epistemology in Physics.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 45(2): 421–447.
Rege Sharmila. 2007. “Dalit Studies as Pedagogical Practice: Claiming More Than Just a ‘Little Place’ in the Academia.” Review of Development and Change 12(1): 1–33.
Riley, Erin, and Michelle Bezanson. 2018. “Ethics of Primate Fieldwork: Toward an Ethically Engaged Primatology.” Annual Review of Anthropology 47: 493–512.
Robinson, Cedric J. 1983. Black Marxism: the Making of the Black Radical Tradition. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Rodriguez, Cheryl. 2001. “A Homegirl Goes Home: Black Feminist and the Lure of Native Anthropology.” In Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory, Politics, Praxis and Poetics, edited by Irma McClaurin, 233–257. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Rosa, Jonathan, and Vanessa Díaz. 2020. “Raciontologies: Rethinking Anthropological Accounts of Institutional Racism and Enactments of White Supremacy in the United States.” American Anthropologist 122(1): 120–132.
Sarkar, Sreela. 2021. “Skills Will Not Set You Free.” In Your Computer is on Fire, edited by Thomas S. Mullaney, Benjamin Peters, Mar Hicks, and Kavita Philip, 297–311. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Schalk, Sami. 2013. “Coming to Claim Crip: Disidentification with/in Disability Studies.” Disability Studies Quarterly 33(2).
Schirrer, Anna Kirstine. 2020. “Introduction: On Reparations for Slavery and Colonialism.” Emergent Conversations, PoLAR website, July 31.
Shah, Nayan. 2001. Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Shulist, Sarah, and Faun Rice. 2019. “Towards an Interdisciplinary Bridge between Documentation and Revitalization: Bringing Ethnographic Methods into Endangered-Language Projects and Programming.” Language Documentation and Conservation 13: 36–62.
Shange, Savannah. 2019. Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, and Schooling in San Francisco. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Simpson, Audra. 2018. “Why White People Love Franz Boas; or, The Grammar of Indigenous Dispossession.” In Indigenous Visions: Rediscovering the World of Franz Boas, edited by Ned Blackhawk and Isaiah Lorado Wilner, 166–182. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 2013. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. 2nd ed. London: Zed Books.
Sojoyner, Damien. 2016. First Strike: Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Subramanian, Ajantha. 2019. Caste of Merit: Engineering Education in India. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Tate, Shirley Anne. 2016. “‘I can’t quite put my finger on it’: Racism’s Touch.” Ethnicities 16(1): 68–85.
_____, and Damien Page. 2018. “Whiteliness and Institutional Racism: Hiding Behind (Un)conscious Bias.” Ethics and Education 13(1): 141–155.
Thomas, Deborah A. 2011. Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
_____. 2019. Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation: Sovereignty, Witnessing, Repair. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Todd, Zoe. 2016. “An Indigenous Feminist’s Take on the Ontological Turn: ‘Ontology’ is Just Another Word for Colonialism.” Journal of Historical Sociology 29(1): 4–22.
Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. 1995. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Boston: Beacon Press.
Tsosie, Krystal S., Joseph M. Yracheta, Jessica Kolopenuk, and Rick W.A. Smith. 2020. “Indigenous Data Sovereignties and Data Sharing in Biological Anthropology.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 174(2): 183–186.
Varma, Saiba. 2020. The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Visweswaran, Kamala. 1994. Fictions of Feminist Ethnography. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
West, Paige. 2005. “Translation, Value, and Space: Theorizing an Ethnographic and Engaged Environmental Anthropology.” American Anthropologist 107(4): 632–642.
Williams, Bianca. 2016. “Radical Honesty: Truth-telling as Pedagogy for Working Through Shame in Academic Spaces.” In Race, Equity, and the Learning Environment: The Global Relevance of Critical and Inclusive Pedagogies in Higher Education, edited by Frank Tuitt, Chayla Haynes, and Saran Stewart, 71–82.
_____, and Frank A. Tuitt. 2021. “Introduction: ‘Carving out a Humanity’: Campus Rebellions and the Legacy of Plantation Politics on College Campuses.” In Plantation Politics and Campus Rebellions: Power, Diversity, and the Emancipatory Struggle in Higher Education, edited by Bianca C. Williams, Dian Squire, and Frank Tuitt, 11–46. Albany: SUNY Press.
Zambrana, Ruth E. 2018. Toxic Ivory Towers: The Consequences of Work Stress on Underrepresented Minority Faculty. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.