Call for Contributors: “Strike!: Labor Conflict in Higher Education”

Alyssa Bowen's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
July 26, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, History Education, Labor History / Studies, Social History / Studies, World History / Studies

The Activist History Review invites proposals for our August 2019 issue, “Strike!: Labor Conflict in Higher Education.”

Few who work in higher education can speak optimistically about the future of their chosen career path. University administrators, often backed by a corporatized board of trustees, have asked academic departments to do more with less, to both recruit and teach more students with fewer faculty members and dwindling budgets. To cope with this administrative crisis, departments have increasingly relied upon adjunct or contingent faculty who are paid a fraction of tenured faculty and regularly denied benefits or stability. Likewise, it is now common practice for universities to outsource staff, service, and housekeeping positions to third parties, limiting university responsibility for adequate compensation and fair working conditions. Despite ballooning tuition, many of those who labor on college campuses face financial precarity and its side effects: preventable illness, food insecurity, and displacement. 

Since at least the 1930s, campus organizing has been at the forefront of social movements, particularly in Europe and the Americas. Famously, in the 1960s, a new generation of student activists fought against academic and societal hierarchies. Today, we are seeing an upsurge in such activism, as university workers are increasingly organizing to improve campus conditions--including university responses to sexual harassment allegationsinstitutional racism, and accessibility for disabled employees and students--and challenging the structures that facilitated such poor conditions in the first place.

The Activist History Review seeks articles for its August issue “Strike!:Labor Conflict in Higher Education.” Articles should address the past, present, and future of work in higher education and suggest methods to ensure just employment on college campuses. Potential topics include:

  • The ways in which past struggles have influenced and inspired contemporary university labor struggles.
  • The lessons that contemporary activists can/should learn from historical campus organizing efforts.
  • Faculty, staff, and campus worker unionization efforts.
  • Strikes on college campuses, organized with or without unions.
  • The particular challenges of labor organizing for graduate workers in higher ed (e.g. faculty retaliation, changes to ILRB rulings, accusations of “hurting students,” etc.).
  • Causes of and solutions to precarity on the academic market.
  • Racism, sexism, and discrimination in hiring and employment. 
  • Social justice in higher ed. 
  • The benefits of campus organizing for activists (e.g. gaining experience in bargaining). 
  • Strategies for bargaining and negotiation with university officials. 
  • Attacks on or surveillance of university teaching curricula to counter supposed political discrimination. 
  • Health and research outcomes of income insecurity.

Please submit a 250 word proposal for a 1250-1500 word article to activisthistory@gmail.com no later than Friday, July 26th at 11:59pm. Proposals should also include a short author bio of no more than 100 words.

Contact Info: 

Alyssa Bowen and Andreas Meyris, activisthistory@gmail.com