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CFP: MIGC 2021: Catalyst (Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference 2021)

When: February 4-7, 2021.

Submission Deadline: December 1, 2020.

A catalyst, something that spurs or enhances the speed of a reaction, can spark an event or continue to fuel a movement. Catalysts can ignite and add power to social progress and change. In the past seven months, COVID-19, threats to the US electoral system, and the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Jacob Blake, and other Black individuals by police have reiterated the challenges marginalized communities face. These events have inspired new discussions about equity, systemic racism, and institutional access across the US. Yet,

dominant institutions, such as schools and universities, continue to focus on grand narratives of progress and change, ignoring the daily struggles and successes of oppressed peoples. Popular and academic presses forego discussions of the labor of community organizers, local BIPOC leaders, and social movements headed by and for marginalized communities. The 2021 Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference (MIGC) investigates the daily labor, communities, and practices that continually ignite social, political, and economic progress and change.

When we consider the catalysts of political movements, we must take into account the labor and lives of those working every day to enact significant social change. As Rachel Cargle states in “Coming to Terms With Racism’s Inertia: Ancestral Accountability,” the work of anti-racism requires “showing up day in and day out… being intentionally and passionately against the racism that is perpetuated in our country in tiny and large ways.” Although this labor often takes place in-person, from protest rallies to town halls, communities also engage in discussion about economic and cultural power online, as seen in Alfred J. Martin, Jr.’s “Fandom while black: Misty Copeland, Black Panther, Tyler Perry and the contours of US black fandoms.” Academic work on social progress and change must also acknowledge the political struggles of all oppressed groups and those histories that shape social movements today. While seemingly simple, the catalyst(s) that ignite and sustain political movements are nodes in a complex network of influences on social progress.

We invite emerging scholars across all disciplines and research interests to present work that broadens and/or hones our current understandings of social movements, political progress, and the roles of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and ableism in the US. How do community organizations and citizens spark daily action against racism? What theoretical frameworks and methodologies expand our conceptions of social movements and racism in the US? What are the historical precedents that have led to inequitable representations and undue labor in popular culture, academia, and elsewhere? How are these issues perpetuated by cultural and social institutions?

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

● White supremacy and patriarchy in all forms and institutions

● Online social movements

● Fan labor and fan activism

● Community organizing practices

● Precarious labor of political movements

● Forms of protest and institutional pressure

● Representations of BIPOC individuals and communities

● Representations of intersectionality

● Media production practices

● News coverage of racism and police violence

● Experiences and cultural productions of queer BIPOC communities

● Academic racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and ableism

● Academia’s place and role in social, political, and economic change

● Students’ intellectual and emotional labor and role in academia

● Anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, anti-classist, anti-ableist


● Historical analyses of social movements and labor

● Law, public and private prisons, and racism, sexism, homophobia. transphobia,

classism, ableism

● Science, health care, and racism, sexism, homophobia. transphobia, classism, ableism

● Social work, counseling, and mental health initiatives in marginalized communities

● Indigeneity in and beyond the US

● The city, architecture, and social movements

● Challenging conceptions of progress and change

● Challenging conceptions of failure and success

● Colonialism and neocolonialism

● International economic and cultural exploitation

● Anarchy and revolution

● Marketing behavior or strategic firm interaction with and between political movements

● Experiences of marginalized individuals in the workplace

To apply, please submit a 300-word submission for individual papers, panels, roundtables,

workshops, or other formats to the MIGC website ( by December 1st , 2020. In your submission, please include a title, institutional affiliation, department, and whether you are an MA, PhD, or post-graduate student.

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