Honoring Our Past, Securing Our Future: Resilience and Reclamation in Higher Education

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Pyle Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison 702 Langdon St, Madison, WI 53706
@ 12:00 pm -

UW System Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium and UW System Office of the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian

Tan poster with the event details “2024 WGSC Spring Conference: Honoring Our Past, Securing Our Future”

As we return to our first in-person conference in three years, we celebrate the deep institutional roots of social justice-oriented scholarship, pedagogy, and community engagement on our campuses. Many of the women’s, gender, LGBTQ+, and cultural programs and centers founded in the 1970s and 1980s are approaching milestone anniversaries. Despite their critical roles in interdisciplinary scholarship and community engagement, these services are now fighting for survival against budget cuts and direct political attacks. At a moment when rollbacks to affirmative action, academic freedom, reproductive justice, LGBTQ+ protections, and other human rights are overwhelming, this year’s theme illuminates the long history of resistance and resilience that has always pushed against interlocking systems of power and oppression. “Honoring Our Past, Securing Our Future” asserts that scholarship, research, and community partnerships are more urgent than ever in the fight against injustice. Collaboration, communication, and connection across disciplinary and institutional divides are essential to our continued success and longevity.

In support of this theme, we invite proposals that examine the history, praxis, complications, tensions, and evolution of this work from a variety of disciplines and services including racial and ethnic studies, queer and trans studies, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, disability studies, STEM fields, campus pride and gender equity centers, multicultural student centers, and other spaces of intersectional collaboration. We welcome participation from community organizations, feminist activists, and artists engaged in overlapping areas of work. Panels and workshops offering specific strategies for rebuilding programs, centers, and departments facing institutional erasure and elimination are strongly encouraged. The theme of institutional legacy and longevity offers an opportunity to acknowledge the challenges of the current moment while generating strategies to secure essential programs for the future.