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Critical Theories in 2020 –
Pedagogy, Pandemics, and Protests

Submit a Proposal

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.

CT21 Thematic Threads:

  1. Protests, Anti-Racist Pedagogies, and Racial Justice
  2. “Pandemic Pedagogy”, Dissolution of Public/Private boundary, Physical/virtual  communities in pandemic times, cuts/austerity measures and the economic impact of the pandemic on higher education
  3. Critical Theories of Technology as it intersects with educational technology and remote/online learning
  4. Public health communication as critical public pedagogy

Types of Sessions: 

  • Paper Presentation
    • 30 minutes, typically 20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for questions and discussion 
    • Synchronous and Asynchronous 
  • Panel
    • 45 minutes, 3-4 panelists to speak on a theme or topic, 30 minutes for presentation and 15 minutes for questions and discussion
    • Synchronous and Asynchronous
  • Workshop
    • 60 minutes, 1-2 presenters or facilitators, at most 30 minutes for instruction and at least 30 minutes of active participation/interaction with attendees
    • Only Synchronous 

Types of Session Modalities:

  • Synchronous/Live
    • Sessions scheduled for presentation on Friday or Saturday, November 13-14
    • Presented in Zoom, with facilitation and tech support 
    • Option to have sessions recorded
    • Live participation with attendees
  • Asynchronous/Prerecorded
    • Recorded presentation or panel that must be submitted by Friday, October 30
    • Links to recorded sessions will be made available beginning Friday, November 13 on conference website
    • Asynchronous participation with attendees via Twitter, discussion forums, or other modalities (Optional)

How to propose a paper, panel, or workshop:

Submit a single Word document or PDF to this Google Form that includes:

  • Name(s), institutional affiliation (or independent scholar), postal address, email address, and phone number of the author(s)/presenter(s).
  • Title of the paper, panel, or workshop
  • Description of the paper/workshop: In no more than 500 words, please describe the topic, approach/methods, synopsis of arguments/findings, and significance of the paper/workshop.
  • Which theme your paper/workshop should be placed in
  • Whether you are submitting for synchronous or asynchronous presentation 

Important Dates and Information:

Due Date for Submissions: October 2, 2020

Contact: MKruger-Ross@wcupa.edu