Becoming Undisciplined: An ASAP/Journal Forum


Forum co-editors: Heather Houser (University of Texas at Austin, and Stephanie LeMenager (University of Oregon,



We must become undisciplined. —Christina Sharpe


It is brave indeed to wander across disciplines looking for that . . . undisciplined third space where one can think strange thoughts and even make mistakes. —Susan Squier


In my view, a somewhat ‘feral approach’ to disciplinarity naturally changes the identity of what might be the proper archives for one’s scholarship. —Mel Chen


Introducing three books published in the 2010s, these statements mark our current intellectual and activist moment as one of being—or, becoming—undisciplined. If “interdisciplinarity” was the buzzword of the prior two decades, the undisciplined inspires scholarly and creative positions in our current moment of hegemonic collapse and cultural transition. This Forum for ASAP/Journal calls on contributors to draw the contours of this shift to the undisciplined and to reflect on how it influences the work of scholars, creators, and activists. How does the “undisciplined” shape how you read, sense, create, collaborate, ask questions, make kin, produce thought, and impact the world?


Becoming undisciplined is a next step in the evolution of fields, genres, and methods such as Black studies, “auto-theory,” science and technology studies, environmental humanities, and new media studies, among others. We find evidence of becoming undisciplined in multispecies studies, media arts projects, bioart, participatory public engagement, and scholarly writing that integrates personal narrative. These avenues for thought and creativity have raised questions about whether existing institutions, disciplinary frameworks, and academic genres remain relevant to addressing the dilemmas of our times, whether they are racial, cultural, environmental, epidemiological, and/or political. This Forum aims to spark conversation about how scholarly, creative, and activist projects defy disciplinary methods while generating knowledge and envisioning artistic and social change.


Contributors are invited to challenge, reflect on, and/or expand on this central animating question:


  • What does becoming (or being) undisciplined mean to you?


Supplemental questions include:


  • How do you understand institutions, methods, and genres in light of becoming undisciplined? That is, how do you make space within, outside of, or alongside existing institutions, methods, and genres?
  • What collaborations across disciplines, communities, species, and/or media are particularly generative for you?


ASAP/Journal Forum contributions are 600-1200 words or equivalent. You’re invited to present your ideas through non-expository means; i.e., contributions may take the form of essays, case studies, multimedia, or personal narratives. Co-created pieces are welcome. 150- to 200-word abstract due to by September 15, 2020.

The tentative timeline: Responses to submissions in October 2020. Submissions from those selected due in February 2021. Expected publication date of Fall 2021 or Winter 2022. Note that Forum contributions will not go through blind peer review; the guest and journal editors will curate and edit pieces.