The History Department of Simon Fraser University is pleased to announce and call for participants for “Thinking Through Action: Twentieth-Century Social Movements and their Legacy,” a conference to be held at SFU’s Harbour Centre campus in Vancouver, British Columbia, June 10-11, 2005. Please join keynote speaker Bill Fletcher, Jr., from Transafrica Forum, along with plenary participants Mable Elmore, Michael Honey, David McNally, Judy Rebick, and Nikhil Pal Singh in this important and timely event.
The conference will bring together scholars and activists from across North America to discuss how the history of social movements in Canada and the United States can broaden our vision of today’s struggles within a context of the globalization of social justice issues and the ongoing retrogressive clawback of twentieth-century social movements’ policy achievements.This broadened perspective will be especially pertinent in the spring of 2005, in the months after both the Canadian and American federal elections and the new organizing challenges that will inevitably emerge.
We are organizing this conference in honor of Jack O’Dell, a social justice activist now living in Vancouver. O’Dell worked closely with Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson, and has played an important organizing role at different periods in the labor, civil rights and peace and anti-nuclear movements from the 1940s to the present. Inspired by O’Dell’s experience, vision, and organizing success, the conference will focus on movements against the inseparable trio of poverty, racism, and militarism – what Martin Luther King identified in 1967 as the most important twentieth-century struggles. Conference themes are three processes we have identified as essential to the often unprecedented successes of twentieth-century movements: “organizing change,” “building internationalism,” and “linking struggles.”
For further information, conference updates, and a biographical sketch of Jack O’Dell, please visit our website (web address shown below).
Call For Papers
The conference begins with the premise that a historical perspective on current social movements is critical. All presentations, therefore, should draw inspiration from history, whether academic, institutional, or personal, to illuminate present activist struggles. While the focus of the conference is historical, we are seeking truly multiple and diverse perspectives on history, and especially welcome presentations from other academic disciplines and from activists and other individuals outside academic life. All presentations should be accessible to the broad diversity of people interested in the issues raised by this conference, and we welcome all presentation styles as long as they address the conference themes and respect time limits for presentations and sessions (see below). Graduate students and community organizers are especially invited to apply. We are applying for financial aid for presenters to be distributed on a needs basis.
Proposals should explicitly explain how the presentation will address at least one of the conference themes of “Organizing Change,” “Building Internationalism,” and “Linking Struggles,” and how it or they connect to specific struggles against poverty, racism, and militarism. Papers that consider the interconnections between these themes and struggles are particularly welcome.
We invite you to consider issues concerning the following possible topics, (along with others not listed), in helping us advance our understanding of the past, present, and future possibilities for movement building and creating social change:
Creating and sustaining movement coalitions
Organizing in repressive environments
International solidarity and organizing
Organizing the unorganized
Media and communications in movement building
Building independent community-oriented media
Privatization and organizing
Globalization and organizing
The decline of electoral politics and implications for organizing
Organizing for environmental justice
Pragmatism vs. principle in organizing
Common denominators in the struggles for racial, gender, and sexuality equality
The struggle for indigenous rights
Protecting and advancing immigrant rights
Protecting and advancing workers rights
Proposals for “Thinking Through Action” Conference
Proposals for presentations must include the following information:
which conference theme/s and struggle/s it will address
its historical perspective and inspiration (whether academic, institutional, or personal)
a maximum 250-word summary of its content
relevant personal information indicating institutional affiliation (if any) and what training or experience the presenter brings to the proposal
presenter’s name, address, telephone, fax, and e-mail address
To allow time for discussion, sessions will be limited to three twenty-minute or four fifteen-minute presentations. Sessions will not include official commentators.
Along with proposals for individual presentations, we welcome group proposals for entire panels. Full panel proposals should include proposal information for all presentations/presenters expected to be included, as detailed above, with some indication of willingness to participate from each proposed session member.
Submit proposals as an e-mail attachment to the e-mail address shown below or as a hard copy by mail to: Thinking Through Action Conference, c/o Karen Ferguson, Department of History, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5A 1S6, CANADA.
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