The Undercommons and Destituent Power

On March 26-28, 2020, Indiana University’s annual Critical Ethnic Studies symposium will bring into dialogue two fields of insurgent study: the undercommons and destituent power.

To explore social life that evades political constraints, such as citizenship, sovereignty, and governance, we turn to the groundbreaking work of Fred Moten, Stefano Harney and Giorgio Agamben.

This para-institutional forum grows up from the roots of the Black radical tradition and Italian autonomia, to collect and share what we’ve learned from the practices and forms of life that are already breaking free of politics.

Through fugitive movement, contemplation, Black study, inoperativity, resonances between the last decade’s revolts, and other grounded reimaginations, we find what it means to let go of inherited political orders and to extend beyond them, toward the indissolubly common life that can be located in destitution and in refuge.


Sponsored by: The Susan D. Gubar Chair in Literature, College Arts & Humanities Institute, Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, the Departments of American Studies, History, English, Germanic Studies, and Anthropology at IU-Bloomington, the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association Arts Program, and IU Cinema’s Creative Collaborations Program.