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Critical Theories in 2020 –
Pedagogy, Pandemics, and Protests

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Department of Educational Foundations & Policy Studies
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Friday-Saturday, November 13-14, 2020

The Critical Theories of Education Conference (CT21.org) promotes and supports the cultivation of critical scholarship for students and lifelong learners and advances the development of critical education theory and critical pedagogy more generally. We hope to work toward unifying and strengthening the sub-genres of critical pedagogy inspired by Marxism, critical race theory, phenomenology, feminism, queer, and decolonial studies amongst other critical theories. The conference intentionally includes the voices and perspectives of university students, K-12 classroom teachers, and higher education educators/practitioners. We attempt to create a space where critical theorists, practitioners, and educators who do not usually collaborate have an opportunity to shape meaningful partnerships and common education goals. Because critical theory is concerned with not only interpreting the world but with transforming it, the conference is focused on simultaneously understanding the consequences of an unjust social and economic system (e.g., corporate take-over of schools, high stakes testing, and behaviorist pedagogy, microaggressions and bullying in the classroom, poverty, racism, sexism, white supremacy, homophobia, perpetual war, ableism, etc.) with transforming or dissolving their root causes (e.g., neoliberal capitalism and the settler-state, Euro-centric oppression and their patriarchal, homophobic, racist, etc. hegemonies). 

Each year the CT21 conference embraces a theme to explore and discuss. The 2020 theme is the necessary role critical theories in particular must adopt to address the times as exemplified in three events or themes: pedagogy, pandemics, and protests. The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in remote learning becoming the norm for K-16 students and teachers, resulting in a new arena of scholarship aptly named “pandemic pedagogy.” Put differently, how can critical theories of technology address the challenges (and benefits) of remote learning? At the same time, the killing  of George Floyd and others, in conjunction with record-setting protests to denounce police brutality, have gripped the United States and changed culture in ways not seen since the 1960s. 

To this end, we invite the submission of papers, panels, and presentations that engage participants in exploring and discussing how to examine, critique, and change existing structures in K-16 education. The conference Critical Theories in 2020 – Pedagogy, Pandemics, and Protests will consist of the following four thematic threads. We encourage all presenters to state in their proposal which thread their presentation should be placed in, but submissions that fall outside of the thematic threads will be considered.

Contact: MKruger-Ross@wcupa.edu