CFP: East Side Freedom Library

Caroline Waldron's picture

2nd Biennial Conference of Activist Scholars
East Side Freedom Library, Saint Paul, Minnesota

June 5-6-7, 2020

The United States and the world are in crisis, from our climate to our political structures. This
“moment” of crisis is hardly new to many of us, who have carried our economic and political
system on our backs for generations. Yet, the disdain for humanity expressed by our leaders and
tolerated by so many must alert us to the profound character of the crisis in which we are mired.
And we see that, part and parcel of this political, economic, and social crisis, there is a crisis in
the production of knowledge – how to think critically; how to bring together our neighbors who
hold parts of the answers but are separated from each other; how to inform activism with
analytical insight; how to place the present in a conversation with the past; how to share
knowledge across generations.
The East Side Freedom Library (see strives to be a space
where such knowledge can be produced, shared, and deployed. Our mission is to inspire
solidarity, advocate for justice, and work towards equity for all. ESFL has collected and
cataloged 20,000 books on the histories of labor, immigrants, and LGBTQIA and feminist
experiences, popular education and the arts, and the ways these stories have been told in poetry,
fiction, theater, visual art, and more. We are also in a partnership with the Hmong Archives. We
have become an educational and cultural gathering place, where students and scholars use our
resources and participate in our programs, and where members of diverse communities build
bridges with each other.
We invite you to send proposals for presentations of all sorts – papers, panels, poetry, video,
performances, workshops – through which you are able to share your practice of activist
scholarship. All fields are welcome. Keep in mind that you will be presenting to an engaged
audience of activists, academics, NGO workers, artists, librarians, and community learners. We
will not host simultaneous sessions, so that all participants can share their work and ideas
together. We discovered at our first conference, in June 2018, that presenters valued how much
they learned from each other and from audience members. You can find a pdf of our 2018
program on our website.
We consider activist scholarship to include:
+ University and community based research that offers critical perspective and/or actionable
knowledge on issues of social equity, the climate emergency, and racial justice.
+ Knowledge generated through direct student and faculty engagement with labor, community,
identity, and issue-based and social movement organizations.
+ Community-based and participatory research that involves workers, immigrants, LGBTQIA,
and communities in the definition and redress of critical social issues.
+ Pedagogical strategies that engage students in critical reflection and open dialogue on key
social issues and developments.

+ Theater, dance, poetry, spoken word, and other forms of artistic presentation that explore,
express and embody social agency and human dignity.
+ Creation of public forums and spaces for critical dialogue on issues of social, racial, and
economic equity.
We imagine that proposals might address:
+ U.S. and international case studies of im/migration flows, perils, and resistance;
+ Transnational, multi-lingual networks against fascism;
+ New analyses and strategies of climate emergency activists;
+ Alternative formations and solidarities in labor organizing and workplace actions;
+ How to expand shrinking bandwidth for structural/systemic analyses in the noise of celebrity
+ Instances, community-building benefits and/or tactics of arts activism;
+ Historical instances of taking on Goliath, with lessons for today;
+ Reports from slow, local, lazy, non-aligned, and other refusenik movements;
+ Contingent labor, precarious labor, and other forms
+ Public Health projects
+ Science for the People project
+ And many others
Please send 250 word proposals for your presentations, as individuals or as groups, to Include short presenter bios. Send by October 15, 2019. You
will hear from us by December 1. We are working on raising funds so that we can subsidize
travel and lodging for participants who need it. We do not want your finances to be an obstacle
to your participation. We will keep you informed of developments on this front.

Categories: CFP