Tepoztlán Institute 2018 Conference

Black Lives/Black Deaths: Disposession, Disappearance, and Enclosure/Vidas Negras y Muertes Negras: Dispojo, Desaparicion y Cercamiento

18th to 25th July 2018
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico

CFP Deadline:  10 February 2018

The Tepoztlán Institute hosts an international bilingual conference that meets annually in the town of Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico, for a unique week of study and exchange around shared theoretical readings and participant works-in-progress. This summer, the Institute will run from 18 to 25 July. 

Summer of 2018 will mark our fourteenth year of bringing together scholars from across the hemisphere and from multiple disciplines around a general theme of interdisciplinary salience to the Americas. Our theme this coming summer is: Black Lives/Black Deaths: Disposession, Disappearance, and Enclosure/Vidas Negras y Muertes Negras: Dispojo, Desaparicion y Cercamiento

The Tepoztlán Institute seeks to interrogate the structural, political, cultural, and social features of black lives and black deaths. Across the Americas, we witness the continuation and exacerbation of political and racial tensions through diverse phenomena such as the mass-incarceration of people of color, controversial police killings of unarmed black men, the disproportionate violence towards black transgender individuals and the profound structural violence of economic disparities affecting the descendants of the transatlantic slave trade, more recent migrants, and larger contemporary black communities. At the same time, the frontiers of black and indigenous identities in places as diverse as Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, and the Southern Cone are shifting as the reevaluation of racial legacies in post-Castro Cuba unfolds. Networks such as the Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeñas y de la Diáspora have been organizing for decades for social justice, along with newer voices, including the Movement for Black Lives. In 2015, the UN proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent to address the effects of centuries of racial violence. Our focus at once aims to reflect and engage more deeply with the imbrication of race, racism, and racial difference in processes of state formation and administration, migration and exile, racial segregation (as well as forced congregation), and representations of race in culture and the arts. We invite scholarship that approaches and analyzes these topics and themes in the interdisciplinary intersections of the social sciences and humanities, whether these reflections lead us to the microhistories of local and regional dynamics in the Americas or the philosophical underpinnings of universalism, humanism, science, and religion.

Broadly, this year’s theme acknowledges the degree to which the dispossession of black people has historically created—and continues to create—the very conditions of archival fragmentation that work to obscure black histories from view. Writing blackness from the archive necessarily makes several demands: that we complicate our understanding of terms like “agency” and “resistance,” instead learning to think beyond projects of recovery; that we interrogate the violence of the archive’s very creation; and that we acknowledge our own complicity in the spectacularization of suffering by repeating and proliferating these accounts. How can activists, historians, literary scholars, anthropologists, sociologists, and others theorists challenge the archival and epistemic violences of erasure and confront our complicity in black deaths?

Connecting the past, present, and future of histories of racial violence and enduring acts and movements of resistance, this year’s Institute examines our inheritance of race and racisms, acknowledging the relative erasure of Afro-Latin American experiences within the divergent histories and historiographies, ethnographies, literary work and further knowledge production of/in the region.


  • Theorizing blackness and archives from the perspectives of the Afro-descendent people in the traditional archive
  • Articulations of indigeneity and blackness
  • Shifting racial formations, black indigeneity, nationalisms, subjectivities and affects
  • Complications of notions of “agency” and “resistance”
  • Histories of carceral states, crime, and criminality
  • Slavery, race, and the normalization of violence
  • Grassroots movements, organizations, networks and coalition building for racial justice
  • Spirituality, religion and theology in Africana worlds
  • Black migration, diaspora, refugees and movement
  • Queer, Trans and Feminist Black Studies across the Americas
  • Black artistic, literary, musical and creative productions, performance and representations
  • Acumulación previa/originaria y cercamiento
  • Failures of universities and university-based institutes to make space for black voices and black histories

We welcome participants’ families and childcare is available. Conference fees, charged on a sliding scale, cover an intensive week of workshops, presentations, performances, and other activities, seven days of housing and meals (breakfast and lunch, as well as opening and closing event dinners), translations of most common readings, simultaneous translation, logistics coordination, and reading materials. Travel grants are available for scholars based at Latin American institutions.

Online applications and details about the Institute and the annual conference are at our website in English and Spanish.

The application form is attached. Link to FAQ available here.

If you are currently at work on a relevant project or can contribute more broadly to discussions of theoretical works broadly related to the conference themes, we invite your application. The application deadline is 10 February, 2018.

Above text adapted from email and webpage.