March 19, 2016
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, State College, PA
At a time when the term social justice has gained a degree of ubiquity at educational and related academic conferences, and savvy rhetoricians motivated by strategic political and commodity-based interests appropriate themes of social justice with an almost predictable level of confidence, it needs be asked: What do we – educators, researchers, practitioners – mean when we deploy the term? Does the term still possess relevance or has it fragmented into an empty signifier (Lévi-Strauss, 1950)? How may the work of ethically-conscious social justice within the academy, schools, and greater society be foregrounded in a manner that imbricates the role with the soul (Freire, 2000), and what may this term come to mean for 2016 and beyond? Alternately stated, how can we speak authentically of justice in and for social contexts that are often pressing with regards to human and environmental urgency and gravity?
At the heart of such questions lies the need for a merging of practice with reflexivity (Siraj-Blatchford & Siraj-Blatchford, 1997). How, for instance, do our social practices and the manner we reflect – or fail to reflect – on these reify not only prior ideological assumptions but also co-constitute a particular ethical stance? Of particular interest here are the reflective methods and strategies that practitioners daily employ as forms of an “ethics of suspicion” (Bernasconi, 1990) that seeks to question both world and ‘self’ so as to bring about modes of action characterized by greater degrees of equality, justice, and relationship.
Hence, this conference theme calls for a revalorization of those often taken for granted assumptions that undergird practice and action through the interrogation of the terminology – ‘social justice’, ‘critical’, ‘activism’, ‘transformatory’, and ‘advocacy’ to mention but a few – which has come to characterize substantial parts of educational research and practice.
Conference Proposals: Due December 15, 2015 (11:59pm EST) firstname.lastname@example.org
Papers may be submitted to the following conference strands:
- Teaching and Learning for Equity and Social Justice
- Critical Race Studies
- Critical Youth Studies
- Women’s Studies
- Educational Reform in the 21st Century
- Beyond education
Penn State encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing special accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact the conference planner at email@example.com at least two weeks prior to the conference.
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