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ClassCrits XII: Facing Our Challenges: Rescuing Democracy, Ensuring Wellbeing & Exorcizing the Politics of Fear (Or: How To Be Free)

Western New England University School of Law
Organization: ClassCrits
Categories: American, Interdisciplinary, Popular Culture, Women's Studies, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2019-11-15 to 2019-11-16 Abstract Due: 2019-06-01


ClassCrits XII: Facing Our Challenges: Rescuing Democracy, Ensuring Wellbeing & Exorcizing the Politics of Fear (Or: How To Be Free)

Co-Sponsored by Western New England University School of Law and ClassCrits, Inc. (www.classcrits.org)

Conference Date: November 15 & 16, 2019

This year, ClassCrits seeks the mantle of the FREE. To be free requires that we actively face the challenges that all humanity now jointly confronts. These include the accelerating environmental degradation of the Earth's natural systems, the dramatic rise in economic inequality, the failure of our institutions, the breakdown of our communities, and the alienation from our selves (body, mind and spirit) and one another. However, these challenges cannot be met unless we rescue or even reinvent our democracy, ensure the wellbeing of all as the appropriate measure of justice, and exorcize the politics of fear. From this perspective, democracy, economic wellbeing, and fearlessness present challenges, each of which requires an appropriate response. In addition, however, these core concepts serve as commitments, methods, and practices that advance justice and engender the solidarity necessary to tackle the existential threats we now face.

Over the last few years, hope in this darkening time has been kept alive by the activism both here and abroad of young people, people of color, women, and white progressives. In the United States, the recent election of an energized, fearless, and diverse group of congress people committed to justice, equality, and the future of our planet also captures this hope. A spirit of hope and enthusiasm insists that we can rebuild our polity and contribute to reordering the world despite increasing practices of hate, fear-mongering and fear-based policy-making. We can refuse to be bounded by an anti-democratic rhetoric of liberty that is anything but freeing and animated by abuse of power, sought homogeneity, and the making and exploitation of insecurity. In this vein, ClassCrits seeks ideas, work, activities and practices that: (1) analyze and propose concrete solutions to the existential threats to humanity and planet Earth; (2) demand expansive democracy and justice; (3) embrace and seek to ensure the economic wellbeing of all across our differences; and (4) inspire courage and solidarity.

We invite panel proposals and paper presentations that speak to this year’s theme of “Facing Our Challenges: Rescuing Democracy, Ensuring Wellbeing & Exorcizing the Politics of Fear,” as well as to general ClassCrits themes. See below for details.

In addition, we extend a special invitation to junior scholars (i.e., graduate students or any non-tenured faculty member) to submit proposals for works in progress. A senior scholar as well as other scholars will comment upon each work in progress in a small, supportive working session.

Other ClassCrits Themes Include:

  • The legal and cultural project of constructing inequalities of all kinds as natural, normal, and necessary.
  • The relationships among economic, racial, and gender inequality.
  • The development of new methods (including the interdisciplinary study and development of such methods) with which to analyze and criticize economics and law (beyond traditional “law and economics”).
  • The relationship between material systems and institutions and cultural systems and institutions.
  • The concept and reality of class within the international legal community, within international development studies and welfare strategies, and within a “flattening” world of globalized economics and geopolitical relations.

Proposal Submission Procedure and Deadline

Please submit your proposal by email to classcrits@classcrits.org by June 1, 2019 with the following details:

Individual paper proposals should include a title and short abstract, along with the presenter’s name, contact information, institutional affiliation (if any), and a short speaker bio (1-3 sentences). Individual papers (other than works-in-progress submissions, see below) will be grouped by the conference organizers into panels.

Works-in-progress submissions (for junior or emerging scholars seeking individualized presentations and comments) should be clearly identified as “Work-in-Progress” and should similarly include a title, short abstract, name and contact information, and a 1-3 sentence bio.

Panel proposals may use a variety of formats, including traditional paper presentations, roundtables, and audience discussions. Please indicate the format of the proposed panel, and include a proposed panel title, a short description of the overall topic, and a list of confirmed panelists, with contact information.  For panels comprised of individual presentations, please include titles and short summaries of each presentation and a short bio (1-3 sentences) for each panelist or panel organizer.

Logistics & Fees

The venue for the gathering is the Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts. The conference will begin with continental breakfast on Friday, November 15, 2019, and continue through the afternoon of Saturday, November 16, 2019. Arrangements are being made for conference hotels. 

For updates, please check www.classcrits.org, where you can also sign up as a ClassCrits member.  As a member you will be on our contact list and allowed to post a profile that will build our network and showcase your work.  Associate membership is free; full membership dues are $25 for 2019 (includes ClassCrits, Inc. voting rights and 2019 conference discount).

The registration fee is $215.00 for accepted presenters who are full-time faculty members; ClassCrits members get a discounted registration fee of $200.   Registration is free for students and activists. Participants who do not fit into these categories, and/or who for individual reasons cannot afford the registration fee, should contact us at classcrits@classcrits.org. Workshop attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.



Thomas Kleven