Call For Papers: American Anthropological Association

Annual Conference: Chicago, Illinois – November 20th – 24th, 2013


Panel Title:

The New “Youth Movements”: Political Subjectivity, Crisis, and Resistance


Panel Organizers:

Manissa McCleave Maharawal (, CUNY Graduate Center

Zoltán Glück, (, CUNY Graduate Center


In late October, 2011 Egyptian activists wrote a solidarity letter to Occupy Wall Street in which they stated: “an entire generation across the globe has grown up realizing, rationally and emotionally, that we have no future in the current order of things,” (Guardian 2011). Identifying a commonality in their struggles, the letter expresses a blunt urgency; that their generation is going to have to create “what we can no longer wait for” (ibid). This urgency was also seemingly felt by thousands around the world as youth-led movements over the past two years have toppled governments from Tunis to Montreal. Within these movements, and in their wake, new forms of political practices, political identities, and solidarities have emerged and begun to change the way that young people facing dire social and economic challenges understand their lived reality. Youth worldwide continue to be hit the hardest by the global economic turbulence and job crises (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2012) and are slated for continued economic struggles. However, as shown by their overwhelming participation in various political struggles around the globe, youth are challenging these conditions in a myriad of complex and organized ways.

This panel seeks to explore the connections and differences across and between these places and modes of resistance. We aim to foster dialogue between movements and in doing so to break down categories and boundaries of anthropologist/activist and researcher/participant in these contemporary movements. We are interested in exploring and theorizing emergent modalities of resistance, political subjectivities, and organizational forms within contemporary youth politics. In doing so we are putting forward the concept of “youth movements” as a plausible framework within which to analyze the current groundswell of youth-led political events.

Papers topics may include:

  • Contemporary youth movements and the crisis of neoliberalism
  • Student movements and the crisis of the university
  • Youth as a political category
  • Political subjectivity and processes of radicalization
  • The historical role of youth in social change
  • The contemporary roles of youth in social movements
  • Global uprisings as “youth movements”
  • Political economy of student movements
  • Strategies, tactics and political practices of youth resistance
  • Decision-making and organizational structures of movements
  • The role of affect within youth movements
  • Contemporary forms of radical youth politics
  • Dynamics of race, class and gender within student movements
  • Politics and practices of accountability and self-governance (or “autogestion”)
  • Movement cultures, youth subcultures, and practices of resistance
  • Uses of space/production of space/place-making practices in contemporary movements
  • Papers grappling with methodological, ethical, and political issues of scholar-activism, engaged anthropology, “protest anthropology” and activist ethnography

If you are interested in participating please send a paper abstract of no more than 250 words to or by April 7th, 2013.