Craft Critique Culture Conference 2021 - Justice Framed

deadline for submissions: 
February 14, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
The University of Iowa English Department
contact email: 

Craft Critique Culture Conference 2021: Justice Framed

Call for Papers

The University of Iowa English Department invites proposals for its 2021 Annual Conference, Craft Critique Culture, to be held virtually on Zoom. 

Event date: Friday, April 16 – Saturday, April 17, 2021

Categories: interdisciplinary, humanities, arts, literature, language, politics, law, social justice, criminal justice, race, gender, LGBTQ+, resistance

Keynote speaker: Harsha Walia; author of Undoing Border Imperialism;University of British Columbia alum; No One is Illegal co-founder; Women’s Memorial March Committee organizer

  • She has been active in migrant justice, Indigenous solidarity, feminist, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist movements for over a decade
  • Walia has been named one of BC's top ten left-wing journalists and writers in 2010 by The Georgia Straight, one of the most influential South Asians in BC by The Vancouver Sun, and "one of Canada’s most brilliant and effective organizers" by author, activist and filmmaker, Naomi Klein
  • Walia is also a recipient of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives Power of Youth Award and Westender’s Best of the City awards in Activism and Change-Making.
  • Walia sits on the editorial boards of Abolition Journal, Radical Desi, and The Feminist Wire

Plenary speaker: Dr. Rachel Williams; University of Iowa professor & ombudsperson; Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality studies, Art & Art history

  • Professor Williams teaches courses about comics and sequential art, women's studies, intermedia, prison, feminist research methods, and civic engagement.

CRAFT CRITIQUE CULTURE is an interdisciplinary conference focusing on the intersections of critical and creative approaches to writing both within and beyond the academy. This year’s conference will interrogate frames of justice, criminality, deviancy, and resistance. Considering the systemic inequities exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the massive surge of support for the Black Lives Matter movement in response to police brutality, these topics are as crucial and timely than ever.

Jacques Derrida states that justice “is that which must not wait.” At the same time, he acknowledges the paradox that justice has yet to arrive: “justice remains, is yet, to come, venir.” In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King describes the “myth of time” that society propagates to maintain social, class, and racial hierarchies. The government, media, and public caution marginalized peoples to “be patient” and “wait”—they say that justice will come in time. Through this spiritual bypassing, society can falsely, but effectively, accuse those fighting for justice as “agitators” and “incendiaries.” The fight for justice thus becomes framed as criminal and deviant behavior. MLK resists this framing in his letter when he urges us to see that “‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’” This tension between justice yet to come and justice that cannot be delayed demonstrates the complicated, variant, and urgent purviews of justice.

CCC 2021 seeks submissions that explore the broad concepts of “justice,” “criminality,” or “deviancy.” Whether it is the media and government’s targeting of civil rights activists in the 1960s, the policing of black, indigenous, poor, and migrant folks, or in the criminalization of LGTBTQ+ identities, “deviance” is punished by society. Thus, “justice framed” can mean anything from social justice activism to the ways in which “justice” is used to advance oppression. While the theme asks that we think about the many ways that justice is “framed” (e.g. how it is formulated, how it is repudiated, and how it is abstracted), it also asks that we radically and consciously reimagine what justice could be. For if we take seriously Angela Davis’s assertion that “justice is indivisible,” then we must also consider her declaration: “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”

Possible areas of focus might include but are not limited to the following:

  • Who do current “justice” systems protect, and who do they target / harm?
  • Transformative, restorative, and other forms of justice in comparison to punitive justice systems
  • What should be the responsibilities, duties, and actions of those who witness injustice? What does an “ethical / moral witness” to injustice look like?
  • The role of storytelling, art, and humanities in transforming our ideas of justice and criminality
  • Resistance and revolutionary movements or acts
  • Who does society define as criminals or deviants? How do we redefine “criminality” or “deviancy?”
  • The relationship between criminality/deviancy and reaching justice
  • Religious, spiritual, or faith-based notions of justice
  • Economic and environmental applications of injustice under capitalism / crimes against land and justice for land
  • Social justice activism and pedagogy
  • Prison abolition, decriminalization, police reform, and racial justice
  • BLM in the time of COVID-19
  • Queer, reproductive, and gendered justice
  • In what ways have crimes against land and people been normalized and capitalized, and how do they intersect?
  • The distinctions between justice and law
  • How technology and surveillance systems are used for or against “justice”
  • Borders (geographical, conceptual, ideological, literary, political, and bodily) and the criminalization of people and movements
  • National/transnational deviancy, crime, justice and injustice: cultural, linguistic, historical, commercial, ideological

We invite 300-word proposal submissions for the following categories:

  • Panel Presentations
  • Creative Work
  • Roundtable sessions

Proposals are due Sunday, February 14th at 11:59PM to Please include your name and affiliation.

For more information, you can visit our website at: (Twitter: @craft_crit_cult) (Facebook: @craftcritiqueculture