Countering Contingency: Teaching, Scholarship, and Creativity in the Age of the Adjunct [April 5-7, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA]

full name / name of organization: 
Heather Steffen
contact email: 

Countering Contingency: Teaching, Scholarship, and Creativity in the Age of the Adjunct
Pittsburgh, PA
April 5-7, 2013

Inspired by the Non-Tenure-Track (NTT or adjunct) conversation sparked by Web sites like the New Faculty Majority and the Adjunct Project, a push to improve NTT working conditions by the MLA, and the effort to organize by NTT Faculty at Duquesne University, this conference offers an opportunity to think more deeply about the state of contingent, non-tenure-stream faculty. We invite proposals for papers, panels, workshops, roundtables, and creative presentations highlighting, critiquing, and theorizing how the unstable and unsustainable working conditions of NTT faculty impact intellectual work; narrating or analyzing the logistical challenges of serving as NTT teachers, scholars, and artists; discussing the working conditions that call for revision. Contingent labor constitutes the majority of faculty, yet NTT faculty are the lowest paid and most overburdened workers. We represent the foundation of academic experiences at the undergraduate level and offer irreplaceable interactions with students. We are artists, scholars, researchers, and examples of inspired teaching. This conference is an invitation to imagine the answers to crucial questions raised by our tenuous position: How can we use what we know to create a more sustainable and equitable labor and educational system, one that will benefit everyone at the university? What change is most needed? What does it mean to constitute the new faculty majority at your college or university?

Proposals for papers, panels, or roundtables are invited on the following topics:
--maintaining a scholarly or creative life in an era of non-tenured faculty invisibility
--documenting the institutional experiences of contingent faculty and their students
--comparative analyses of salary, contracts, and other aspects of employment
--histories of academic labor struggles
--best practices for contingent faculty
--unionization for contingent faculty
--the proletarianization of the professoriate
--links between this labor struggle and others past and present (especially in the Pittsburgh area)
--any topic related to these concerns

Proposals for non-traditional modes of participation are welcome as well. Some formats for these might include:
--art and creative writing panels (framed by your experience of creating this work under NTT working conditions or about the experiences of NTT faculty)
--interactive workshops that seek audience participation in ways that help us all to analyze and think reflexively about higher education institutions, funding, or any aspect of academic labor and life
--short performance pieces or multimedia presentations
--any other ideas you have for participation, just give us the details

Please email if you are interested in participating in, helping to plan, or attending the conference. For paper proposals, please send a 250-word abstract and short bio paragraph. For panels and roundtables, please send a 250-word panel description, plus 250-word abstracts of all papers/comments and bio paragraphs for all participants. For non-traditional ideas for participation or workshops, please send a 250- to 500-word description of your idea and a short bio paragraph for each participant. The deadline for submission of all proposals is September 15, 2012. Participants will hear back from the planning committee around October 15 at the latest, but please send your materials early and let us know if you need an early decision in order to facilitate travel funding requests at your institution. Informal inquiries before sending formal proposals are welcomed and encouraged for non-traditional presentations and workshops. Proposals from workers and scholars in the Pittsburgh region will be given priority.