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Conference Strands

Adult Education in Communities of Practice

“Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger, 1998). This strand invites presentations that address the role of adult education in promoting equity and social justice in local communities and the larger society as a whole. Papers outlining scholarship in the education of and for adults are welcomed. The focus of this strand is on the role of communities of practice in facilitating emancipatory learning and social action.

Critical Race Studies

Many believe racism does not exist in contemporary times, thereby dismissing the challenges experienced by non-hegemonic groups. We invite papers and workshops by researchers, educators, and scholars who critically examine racist practices, policies, micro-aggressions and other forms of oppression as it relates to critical race studies and transformative solutions in the following areas:  K-12 Education, Higher Education, Adult and Community Education, Sociology, and Teacher Education

Critical Youth Studies

This strand invites scholars from a wide variety of disciplines whose research explores contemporary discourses about childhood and youth from a critical and action-based perspective. Throughout American history, adults have circulated images of youth that are manipulative, hostile, and damaging. More often than not, young people are portrayed in these adult-generated discourses as either passive victims or aggressive perpetrators; rarely, however, are they depicted as being productive and capable agents in their own right, and even less frequently are they granted access to the means of representation that construct and disseminate these images. The theme provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary dialogue, and seeks to engage historians, philosophers, and cultural and media critics, among others, in conversations that focus on the representation of young people in academic and popular discourses, emphasizing the interplay between critical analysis and radical change. In addition, this session invites scholars whose focus of inquiry explores the cultural practices of young people themselves.

Educational Reform in the 21st Century

Proposals in this strand might consider how contemporary reform initiatives are affecting teaching and learning. How are students, teachers, teacher educators, and administrators being influenced? What are the intended and unintended consequences of policies such as Race to the Top? How are Common Core Standards, charter schools, new teacher evaluation systems, and teacher candidate assessments such as the Teacher Performance Assessment affecting the labors of students and teachers? How are attempts to seek equity and social justice factoring into educational reform movements?

Urban Education and Community Partnerships

The relationship of community partnerships in assisting urban community transformation is explored in this strand. Proposals might address questions of how such partnerships are begun or sustained. Research may consider how equity and social justice can be cultivated in relationships between community partners and urban schools, adult education organizations, and/or the academy


The “Othering” strand solicits papers from scholars and practitioners in a range of disciplines whose work captures how constitutive forces and cultural practices inside and outside of schools, higher education, and other formal institutions lead to the marginalization of learners and other social actors on the structural axes of race, social class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and/or disability. Proposals may address the impact of “othering” on equity and social justice, ways in which this issue has been researched, and strategies for transformation that have evolved from the research. This track also calls on educators, activists, researchers, and students to share theoretical insights, empirical data, pedagogical strategies, and cultural work that have the potency to ameliorate oppression against the “Other” as well as have the power to remake schools and other institutions of learning on the ideals of social justice and democracy.

Adult Education

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