Threads & Themes – 2023

  • Abolition Feminisms: Abolition feminism opens a space for transformative interventions in the current criminal justice system. In keeping with the conference theme of “hope,” community projects rooted in abolitionist feminism show us how to imagine a new world where communities are strengthened, and carcerality (in all ways) is abolished. It asks us to dismantle structures and institutions of oppression, and focus on community and collective care. At the forefront of this work are Black and Indigenous activists, feminists, and scholars. For this thread, we encourage proposals that highlight the promise and unknowability of this movement for collective liberation, and community-based efforts to resist what Mimi Kim describes as “the carceral creep.” As scholars of radical hope, such as Mariame Kaba and Andrea Ritchie, demonstrate, hope is a central thread exposing both the precarity and strategic impulses driving abolition feminism, mapping out a social movement that relies on histories of cross-movement solidarities, but also uncertainty about the final endpoint. We encourage proposals that explore this deeply intersectional history and the overlap with women of color feminisms, and other movements focused on transformative justice and the elimination of gender-based violence. 

 

  • Climate Justice and EcofeminismClimate change, climate disasters, and the inequitable distribution of global resources are central narratives unfolding alongside the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. At the center of this narrative are the voices of queer and trans people of color, often living at the front lines of climate change without equal representation or inclusion in solutions and decision-making processes.  This thread invites proposals that rely on an intersectional lens to examine the climate crisis as a human rights issue deeply entangled with the ongoing inequities and opportunities of a global pandemic: environmental racism, colonialism, capitalism, and hierarchies of privilege and oppression. We encourage projects and creative works that consider both the gendered implications of climate change and the role women, People of Color, migrants, and other marginalized groups play as agents of change in areas of policy development, grassroots mobilization, and sustainable solutions. We welcome presentations that also explore how experiential knowledge, anxiety, compassion, energy, and resilience fuel movements for environmental change.
  • Critical Approaches to Trans Care & Trans Justice: Hil Malatino’s book Trans Care examines how systemic failures in matters of trans care and trans justice, widespread transphobia, and trans exclusion have caused trans communities to form their own processes of distributing care labor, shaping trans lives. Malatino pushes back against the widespread cisheterocentric structures that dominate the US, and many other countries across the world, and urges readers toward considering different modes of imagining care labor and care ethics. With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, this call feels more urgent than ever as access to reproductive care, gender-affirming care, the right to privacy, and the rights of trans parents and trans youth meet renewed attacks. This track invites participants to view the current systems of Trans Care and Trans Justice through a critical lens, and encourages radical thinking to imagine a future where trans folx not only survive, but flourish. We encourage presentations that propose systemic changes to traditional care ethics, examine ways that trans communities have found ways to “sustain hope” by creating their own care standards, reflect on the ways that care and justice intersect and inform each other, and consider the possibility that new ways of looking at our current standards of care ethics and delineations of care labor are in order, and that what’s in place could use an overhaul.

 

  • Disability Justice and the Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic: In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, disability justice advocates have highlighted the disproportionate health and socio-economic impacts on disabled people, including those who now live with long-COVID. Yet, as most sectors of society embrace a ‘return to normal,’ the impacts on people with chronic illnesses, immunocompromised health conditions, long-COVID, and other disabilities are unending. These inequities are exacerbated for Black, Indigenous, and people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ communities. For decades, the disability justice movement has focused on networks of mutual aid, sustainability, collective access, intersectionality, communal support, and cross-movement solidarity as a cornerstone of survival as well as permanent workplace and public policy measures. Yet, many of the  initiatives established during the early months of the pandemic have lost traction as vaccine requirements, mask mandates, and flexible work policies continue to decrease. This thread welcomes topics related to disability justice with a particular focus on the ongoing crisis for disabled people and the urgent need for permanent solutions that increase access, improve health outcomes, and codify disability rights as ‘the new normal.” Topics centered in the academic field and pedagogical tools of Disability Studies (and the overlap with disability justice) are also strongly encouraged. We welcome proposals that consider topics of inclusion, care, (in)visibility, and justice within academia, grassroots movements, and artistic communities and projects. Panels, performances, and papers should address those situated at the margins of multiple identities, the contributions of feminist-of-color disability studies, and a theoretical framework that is accountable to critical race theory and makes visible the unacknowledged whiteness of disability studies and activism.
  • Post-Roe Reproductive Justice: For years, many forecasted Roe v. Wade would be overturned, but when the Dobbs v. Jackson decision came down, the immediate ramifications were far-reaching, and they are still unfolding. In addition to abortions being nearly impossible for anyone to safely and reasonably obtain, it’s women, queer, trans folx, and people of color who will disproportionately suffer. But reproductive justice is not only about abortion. SisterSong defines Reproductive Justice as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” Whether fighting for safe abortion access and free child care, or against the expectation to have children, the high financial, physical, and mental costs of fertility treatments, or other expenses related to having and raising children, there’s a lot at stake. For this thread, we welcome presentations on reproductive justice broadly writ, based on the premise of equal citizenship and bodily autonomy of all women. We also encourage proposals that specifically engage implications for higher ed, including the intersections with Title IX, student health services, caregiving, academic freedom, and privacy.       
  • Refusing the Colonial State in (and out of) the Feminist Classroom:  Critical feminist pedagogical practices often challenge  white supremacist cisheteropatriarchal colonial norms on which capitalist states (and our own campuses) have been built.  From critical examinations of land acknowledgements to conversations about critical race theory, prison labor, and reproductive rights, the classroom is often a space for introducing challenging topics and developing strategies to critically analyze and debate these issues with students from multiple viewpoints.  For this thread, we invite presentations on feminist, anti-racist, decolonial and anti-colonial pedagogical practices in the classroom, keeping in mind both the limitations, hierarchies, and the transformative possibilities of our own institutions.  We welcome conversations that engage current challenges to academic freedom, the banning of books, and strategies for infusing hope and a social justice praxis into our work as scholars and teachers. We also welcome papers, panels, art projects, and performances that highlight transformative spaces of justice, reparations, and decolonization against structures of institutionalized racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression outside of the classroom.