WSU SJCON Doing Social Justice: Reclaiming Space and Place

deadline for submissions: 
January 24, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
WSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Social Justice Conference (WSU SJCON)
contact email: 

Washington State University will be hosting its inaugural Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference on Social Justice on March 6th-7th, 2020 at WSU's Pullman, WA campus.  Our theme for this year’s conference is Doing Social Justice: Reclaiming Space and Place. We seek proposals that look at the ways that space interacts and intersects with social justice action and activism. Please submit proposals to the following link: The submission deadline is January 24th, 2020.   CFP Details:  

On behalf of Washington State University’s College of Education and the Departments of English, Sociology, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, we invite proposals for the inaugural Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference on Social Justice.

Social justice is often associated with the idea of fostering fairness and equity in societal practices. The term, however, is wide-reaching and applicable to a significant number of fields. Doing social justice within the academic context can help instructors, students and community members develop a sensitivity to social change and an awareness of the ways injustices manifest in the spaces of our daily lives. However, we acknowledge the importance of moving beyond noticing or theorizing social problems; social justice requires action. With this idea in mind, we invite proposals that focus on the practical, pedagogical and lived experiences involved with engaging in social justice.

Our theme for this year’s conference is Doing Social Justice: Reclaiming Space and Place. We seek proposals that look at the ways that space interacts and intersects with social justice action and activism. As Edward Soja reminds us in Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory:

“We must be insistently aware of how space can be made to hide consequences from us, howrelations of power and discipline are inscribed into the apparently innocent spatiality of social life,how human geographies become filled with politics and ideology.”1

We invite presentations that acknowledge the important role of space in social justice work, both as a site of power and struggle. We are excited to provide this conference as an opportunity to question the geographies of the academy and the partitioning that often occurs between and within disciplines. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary and/or antidisciplinary work, and we welcome emerging scholars in the humanities, social sciences, STEM, library sciences, fine arts and other academic fields.

Possible questions proposals might consider include:

  • ●  How do you envision and conceptualize doing social justice?

  • ●  How do you interpret social justice in the light of the notions of space and/or place?

  • ●  How can social justice be enacted and/or contradicted in digital spaces?

  • ●  What is the relationship between information and doing social justice?

  • ●  How do you help materialize the notion of doing social justice in the complex interplay of

    academic life?

  • ●  How can art, literature, and/or other interdisciplinary work challenge traditional ways of doing

    social justice in your most immediate surroundings?

  • ●  In what ways can the academy better inform the field of social justice?

1 Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory, (London, Verso, 1989), 6.


Possible areas of interest include but are not restricted to:

Disability Studies; Critical Race Theory; Postcolonial and Decolonial Theories; Indigenous Studies and Perspectives; Feminist and Queer Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies, Classroom and Pedagogical Strategies; Composition and FYW; Technology and Art; Teaching Experiences; Inequality in Academia; Workplace and Identity; Activism/Protest; Resource Centers on College Campuses; Performance Studies; Aesthetics; Equity Studies; Political Economy/Neoliberalism;Representation and Popular Culture; Young Adult Literatures and “Genre” Fictions; ”Canons”;Environmental Studies; Digital Humanities; Medical Humanities; Information Technology

***The listed possible questions and areas of interest are by no means exhaustive. As an interdisciplinary conference, we welcome submissions from all areas of graduate and undergraduate study intersecting with social justice and our current theme.

Submission Guidelines

We encourage paper/project proposals submitted by graduate and advanced undergraduate students from all disciplines and also welcome creative submissions including, but not limited to, dance, theatrical, literary, and cinematic contributions. Please submit (1) an abstract of between 250 and 300 words, the title of your proposed paper/project, presenter's name(s), email, academic affiliation and (2) a bio of about 100 words to the following link by January 17th, 2020:

In an effort to support graduate students and create a welcoming, professional environment, we are limiting submissions to students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs (of any sort). In support of our fellow student communities, we are pleased to note that there is no fee for registration; lunch, snacks, and refreshments will also be provided.


Dr. Anna Plemons, a clinical professor of DTC and English at Washington State University and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at WSU Tri-Cities designated 2019 WSU Woman of the Year, will be our Friday community keynote. We are also thrilled to announce that Dr. Elizabeth Sybil Durand, a professor of English Education at Arizona State University, will be our inaugural Saturday conference keynote.

Both Dr. Plemons’ and Dr. Durand’s work embody this year’s theme on Doing Social Justice. Dr.Plemons holds a teaching position in the California Arts in Corrections Program and directs the Critical Literacies Achievement and Success Program (CLASP) at WSU. Dr. Durand’s work focuseson literature, post-colonialism, and education, and she is currently examining middle schoolstudents’ engagement with young adult literature in a Youth Participatory Action Research after- school program.

Conference location and date

Washington State University, Pullman, WA March 6th-7th, 2020

In addition to the above Departments, our AMAZING sponsors for this conference include: The Center for Arts and Humanities (WSU), The Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) and WSU’s Graduate School.