A letter to the Turkish Prime Minister on the ongoing repression of Turkish academics*

Dear Prime Minister Yıldırım:

We are writing to express our gravest concern over the recent treatment
of our colleagues in academia in Turkey. In the wake of the coup
attempt of July 15, 2016, 2,346 academics have been fired, while an even
larger number is facing suspension and disciplinary investigation.

We acknowledge the serious threat the military coup attempt posed to
national security and the personal safety of your President. We also
recognize that the times we live in see an ominous surge in terrorist
attacks globally. Yet the suspension of constitutional rights and legal
procedures under the State of Emergency in the name of anti-terrorism
forms a serious threat to Turkey, too. It undermines Turkey’s
functioning as a state based on the rule of law and inspired by
principles of democracy and justice and faith in formal institutions.

The State of Emergency has made it possible to silence and eliminate
critics and political opponents, even though they have no ties to the
Gülen community that is being held responsible for the coup attempt.
Among those fired in the wake of the coup are 41 “Peace Academics,” who
signed a petition [“We Will Not Be a Party to this Crime,” January 2016]
demanding the return to peace negotiations between the Turkish state and
representatives of the Kurdish political organizations in Turkey. This
spate of dismissals follows upon months of layoffs, prosecution,
investigations, and intimidation targeting 1128 of the signatories, who
are being accused by the government of treason and supporting terrorism.
Ironically, it was your own party that had initiated the peace process
and declared its intention to terminate this 30-year long conflict,
which has claimed too many lives on both sides. We feel urged to remind
you that the Peace Academics merely have exercised their freedom of
speech. More so, they have taken seriously their ethical obligation as
scholars to actively participate in a debate so vital for Turkey’s
welfare. We fear that the purge of these scholars only forecloses a
civil means of resolving the existing conflict. We will closely follow
the upcoming court case involving the four academics and leaders of the
Peace Campaign, who are charged with 7,5 years in prison, after having
spent several weeks in detention last spring already.

More structurally, we are alarmed by the heavy hand the Turkish Higher
Education Council (YÖK) has in university governance. In the aftermath
of the coup attempt, 1577 university deans at private and public
institutions as well as four rectors have been forced to resign from
their positions, though allegedly a substantial number of them are now
being reinstated. Moreover, the Turkish Higher Education Council
recently obtained the authority to investigate, suspend, and fire
academic personnel at private and public higher education institutions,
yet the State of Emergency renders legal means to contest decisions
largely unavailable to those affected.

The ongoing developments add to a decline in freedom of expression for
intellectuals and journalists, as reflected by Turkey’s ranking 151 out
of 180 countries in the Reporters without Borders’ World Press Freedom
Index. In 2006, our association held its bi-annual conference in
Istanbul, which was hosted by Bilgi University. Now, exactly ten years
later, we address you with a set of concerns that in 2006 would have
seemed to belong to Turkey’s past, rather than the country’s future. We
do so as an organization that has looked forward to Turkey becoming a
leader in the academic world as well as in democracy and human rights.
The ongoing developments in Turkey are a blow to our hopes for Turkey
and we call upon you and your government to bring them to an end

Gilbert B. Rodman
Chair, Association for Cultural Studies (ACS)
on behalf of the ACS Board


*The letter has been sent to Prime Minister Yıldırım by the Chair of Association for Cultural Studies Gil Rodman.

New Board and a Change to Bylaws

ACS membership has voted and we have a new Board! Congratulations to everyone elected.

Please see the list of the members of the new Board here.

The membership also voted YES on the proposed change to bylaws. This means that, from now on, roughly half the Board will stand for election every two years. The amendment also allowed for a one-time change in the term length for half the incoming Board, so as to set up the initial staggering of terms. Half of the new Board will thus serve the Board for 6 years, while the other half will serve it for 4 years. The next ACS Board election will be held in 2020.

Please see the bylaws in their entirety here.

ACS Ballot 2016

ACS Ballot 2016 has started and will go on untill May 31, 2016. A link to the ballot has been sent to all current ACS members’ email.

All ACS members can vote for the Chair and Vice Chair of the Association. Each member can also vote for candidates from their designated geographic region.

In addition to the election of the new Board, the current Board has drafted a proposed change to the ACS bylaws, which is now presented to the membership for their approval. If three-fourths of the voting members approve the proposal, then the bylaws shall be amended accordingly.

More information on the election and personal statements for the candidates can be found at: http://www.cultstud.org/wordpress/?page_id=1101.

Use your right to vote!

ACS Board Election 2016 – Candidates

The list of candidates for the ACS Board Election 2016 is ready, and can be found at http://www.cultstud.org/wordpress/?page_id=1101. Also included on the page, are the candidates’ personal statements. Please note that some
candidate statements are still forthcoming, and that we will update the
website as those arrive.

Also on that page: details of a proposed change to the ACS Bylaws — one
that would increase continuity between different versions of the Board
by staggering Board members’ terms — that the current Board has
approved and is presenting to the membership for a formal vote. As
required by the bylaws, this change requires approval by at least 75% of
the voting members in order to go into effect.

We will begin the formal voting process for both the Board elections and
the proposed bylaws change in early May. Please remember that voting
privileges are limited to current ACS members. If you need to renew (or
begin) your membership, you can find the necessary information for doing
so here: http://www.cultstud.org/wordpress/?page_id=18

ACS Board Election 2016

The ACS Bylaws call for an election of the association’s Board every four years, and since the current Board began its term in 2012, the time has come to elect a new Board.

The bylaws state that the Board has one Chair and one Vice Chair, plus regional representatives as follows:

Africa – 3 (one from Southern Africa)
Asia – 4 (one from Northeast Asia, one from Southeast Asia, and one from South Asia)
Australia and New Zealand – 2
Europe – 4 (one from Northern Europe, one from Central and Eastern Europe, and one from Western and Southern Europe)
Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean – 4
North America and the English- and French-speaking Caribbean – 4

The bylaws make it necessary to hold the election electronically, so that the results of the election can be announced at the Crossroads conference in December. The first step in the election process is to find good and willing candidates. We therefore ask for nominations now!

The following current Board members have chosen not to stand for re-election, and we would like to publicly thank them here for their service to the Association for the past four (or, for those Board members marked with an asterisk, eight) years:

Gil Rodman (Chair, North America)*
Bassey Ubong (Africa)
Hamied Alromaithy (Asia)*
Josephine Ho (Asia)
Kristina Gottschall (Australia/New Zealand)
Chantal Cornut-Gentille D’Arcy (Europe)*
Roman Horak (Europe)*
Eric Maigret (Europe)*
Rosario Radakovich (Latin America)*
Ana Wortman (Latin America)

All other current Board members are hereby nominated as candidates to the new Board:

Boulou Ebanda de B’beri (Africa)
Sumit Narula (Asia)
Jeremy Gilbert (Europe)
Ahtziri Molina (Latin America)
Juan Ricardo Aparicio (Latin America)
Mark Hayward (North America)
Matt Jordan (North America)
Sonjah Stanley Niaah (North America)

Additionally, Stephen Chan (Asia) and Catherine Driscoll (Australia/New Zealand), who have been serving on the Board since 2008 and 2012 (respectively), have agreed to stand for election as Chair and Vice Chair (again, respectively).

Considering the need to fill all positions, as well as the desire to have access to potential substitutes, it is obviously important that good representatives are nominated from all regions. We would thus like to invite the Association’s membership to submit nominations for suitable Board members, including the positions of Chair and Vice Chair.

All nominations must be submitted by 31 March 2016 via email to info@cultstud.org.

Each nomination (including those for current Board members standing for re-election) must be accompanied by a brief statement (250-500 words) presenting the nominee. Self-nominations are permitted. If nominating someone other than yourself, please provide contact information for the nominee so that we can confirm his or her willingness to be nominated.

All nominations will be announced on the ACS website in April 2016, with full information on the voting procedure, and with discussion time before the actual voting starts in May.

Crossroads 2016 website and CfP

ACS is delighted to announce that the website for Crossroads in Cultural Studies conference is now open and can be found at: http://www.crossroads2016.org/

Also included is the first call for papers for the event.

For the first time in its history, Crossroads in Cultural Studies is coming to the southern hemisphere. Hosted by the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University, the 11th International Conference Crossroads in Cultural Studies will be held in Sydney, Australia, from December 14th to 17th 2016, bringing scholars together in the beautiful summertime setting of Sydney University to engage with the past, present and future of cultural studies scholarship.

The Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference has played an important role in the creation of a global discussion of Cultural Studies. It has become a major international conference where scholars from all five continents gather regularly to exchange research, views, and insights. Organized by the Association for Cultural Studies (ACS), the Crossroads conference is held every other year in different parts of the world. Previous conferences have taken place in Birmingham (United Kingdom), Urbana-Champaign (USA), Istanbul (Turkey), Kingston (Jamaica), Hong Kong (China), Paris (France), and Tampere (Finland).

A day-long postgraduate/graduate research student conference will precede the main conference (on 13 December, 2016).

• Submit your proposal using the online forms before April 30th, 2016: The call for both paper and pre-organised panel proposals is now open. Submission guidelines and forms can be accessed through our website:www.crossroads2016.org.
• ACS assistance scheme for Crossroads 2016: The Association for Cultural Studies will offer a small number of grants to assist participants from ACS under-represented regions with travel accommodation or registration expenses.
• Information on keynote and plenary speakers, on registration and accommodation, and on the student pre-conference will follow soon.
• Spread the news! Please forward this message to your colleagues and friends – we look forward to seeing you in Sydney in our summer 2016!

Possible topics
The conference is open to all topics relevant to cultural studies. Here are some suggested topics as food for thought, drawing on the work of our invited keynote, plenary and spotlight speakers, and on more general themes in cultural studies research. However, all contemporary cultural studies research is welcome at this conference:
• Diversity, culture, governance
• Indigenous knowledge and politics
• Borders and mobilities
• Culture, gender and decolonisation
• Data cultures
• Extraction: cultures and industries
• Media regulation: from censorship to piracy
• Popular affect online
• Transforming christianities
• Who counts in the anthropocene? gender, sexuality, race and class
• Securitization
• Australasian cultural studies
• Consumption and everyday life
• Critical and cultural theory
• Digital infrastructure
• Culture, gender and sexuality
• Globalisation and culture
• Human/non-human relations
• Inter-Asian cultural studies
• Managing cities
• Migrant cultural studies
• Multicultural, intercultural and cross-cultural studies
• Popular cultures and genres
• Public culture and cultural policy
• Rethinking the human
• Rural cultural studies
• Screen and media culture
• Transforming/Globalising universities
Steering Committee: Professor Catherine Driscoll (USyd), Professor Tony Bennett (WSU), Associate Professor Tess Lea (USyd), Professor Brett Nielson (WSU), Professor Elspeth Probyn (USyd), Dr Guy Redden (USyd), Dr Shanthi Robertson (WSU).

Web: www.crossroads2016.org
Email: acs.2016@sydney.edu.au
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/XR2016/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/XR_2016

The 11th Association for Cultural Studies “Crossroads in Cultural Studies” conference in Sydney, Australia, in December 2016

Save the date!

We are excited to announce that the 11th Association for Cultural Studies “Crossroads in Cultural Studies” conference will be held in Sydney, Australia, in December 2016. This is the first time in its history that the Crossroads conference has been held in the southern hemisphere. Make your plans now to enjoy an exciting international scholarly event in the Australian summer.

14-16 December (with a separate pre-conference event for graduate/postgraduate researchers on 13 December)
The University of Sydney, Australia (pre-conference event at the University of Western Sydney)

A call for papers, and information on invited speakers, will follow later this year. For any preliminary inquiries please email acs.2016@sydney.edu.au.