Protecting Our Education, Protecting Our Futures

deadline for submissions: 
January 12, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
University of Cincinnati Department of English
contact email: 

Conference Date: Friday, March 1, 2024

Conference Location: University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, Ohio

Conference Website:

According to CRT Forward, a tracking project initiative created by the UCLA School of Law’s Critical Race Studies Program that “provides a comprehensive examination of anti-CRT measures limiting teaching, curricula, trainings, access to certain texts and books, and policy alterations,” there are at least 750 anti-critical race theory (anti-CRT) measures in play across the country. Similarly, The Chronicle of Higher Education’s DEI Legislation Tracker is following 40 bills that prohibit a variety of pro-DEI activities and initiatives.These varying legislative measures have been devised at every level of governance, from local school boards to city and state governments. However, despite the wide geographical and legislative range, these measures all share a common aim: to restrict educational institutions’ control over what will be taught and who will teach it.

Such political and legislative pressures make up just one facet of what is a more widespread concern among administrators, educators, and students: liberal arts educational values are under threat. While such a truth is by no means new, today’s task of protecting educational access, freedom, and control is uniquely contextualized by, among other considerations, unprecedented political realities, evolving AI technologies, and persistent social and cultural upheaval. It is this unique moment that inspires the theme for this year’s University of Cincinnati Graduate Student Conference: Protecting Our Education, Protecting Our Futures.

We aim for this conference to be truly interdisciplinary. Thus, we envision presenters from a variety of backgrounds and representing a range of approaches speaking to this theme by sharing research that highlights issues—from a global to a local scale—which pose a threat to the values of education. In highlighting these issues, we hope that presenters will also offer their ideas for ways to manage these threats, or even turn them into opportunities for learning. While we encourage a wide application of this theme, some possible topics include:

  • DEI initiatives in educational spaces
  • Labor conditions in educational spaces
  • Un/Ethical AI use in educational spaces
  • Non-/Violence in/around educational spaces
  • The value of a liberal arts education
  • Social justice pedagogy and educational practices
  • Activist literacies, rhetorics, or pedagogies related to disability, antiracism, economic justice, linguistic justice, gender, and/or sexuality
  • Public protest ideologies, histories, or materialities
  • Political rhetorics

Does this spark an idea? Share it with us! Please submit individual proposals of up to 250 words or panel proposals of no more than 500 words to by January 12, 2024. With your proposal, please also include your name, your university affiliation, and the title of your presentation. For panel presentations, please designate different speakers by number and include the title of the presentation for each speaker. Each session will be an hour and 15 minutes long, with an average presentation time of 15 minutes. Alternative (multimodal, interactive, etc.) presentations are welcome.

Some good-to-know info: There is no registration fee for this conference. Not only that, lunch and other light refreshments will be provided. We know these are important considerations for graduate students!