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Insurgent Research: Practice and Theory

In this year’s Comparative Literature Intra-Student Faculty Forum (CLIFF), we want to explore scholarly works that aspire to function as counter-counterinsurgency, offering models for materially resisting and challenging capitalism, colonialism, militarism, racism, the destructionof the environment, mass incarceration, policing, and so forth.

Our conference will be dedicated to presenting, broadcasting, and learning from scholarship, broadly understood, that takes theleap from theory to practice, from discourse to action, from critique to insurgency. Our call for papers is inspired, among others, by the Institute for the Study of Insurgent Warfare, which researches military doctrine and practice to find strengths and weaknesses that could be exploited by insurgents; by Ryan Shapiro’s FOIA research, seen by the FBI as “irreparably damag[ing] to national security;” and by Joy James’s concept of “dragonphilosophy,” presenting writing produced by political prisoners as a transgressive beacon for revolutionary theory.

The 27th annual CLIFF will be held on March 10-11th, 2023, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The conference will be primarily in person, and panels will be in roundtable, as well as workshop format.

We welcome presentations by graduate and undergraduate students, recent graduates, activists, artists, and independent researchers, from avariety of disciplines, traditions, historical periods, and methods. The topics that we seek to address include, but are not limited to:

  • decolonial theory and practice,
  • insurgent research methods,
  • (counter-)counterinsurgent strategies and tactics,
  • social movements past and present, 
  • uprisings and their legacies,
  • state surveillance,
  • radical pedagogical practices,
  • resistance through art and literature,
  • public Humanities. 


Katherine Tapia, Amitai Ben-Abba, Luiza Duarte Caetano, and Qingyi Zeng

CLIFF 2023 Organizing Team