English Language Arts
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2023 ELATE Summer Conference Call for Proposals
Centering Hope and Organizing for Justice
July 6–9, 2023
Location: Georgia State University, Atlanta
Proposal submission deadline: 9:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, February 28, 2023
The proposal database is now open.
As the United States continues to grapple with intense political polarization around issues such as systemic racism, immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights, abortion access, and other topics related to power and oppression, teachers and teacher educators have a responsibility to engage these issues. Concurrently, in the face of “anti-CRT” and “divisive concepts” legislation, justice-centered teachers and teacher educators are grappling with how to respond to books being banned and pushback from teachers and administrators to critical teaching practices, contemporary challenges rooted in longstanding histories of oppression. As teacher educators, ELATE members face a sociopolitical climate that shapes our preservice teacher preparation and inservice teacher development spaces. In this moment, in all of our various spaces, we confront how we collectively respond in ways that are ethical and just.
However, this work is exhausting, and as we navigate pandemic-related trauma, layered onto traumas resulting from gendered racialized capitalism (Ransby, 2018), teachers and teacher educators are tired. We need to rest. In her recent book Rest Is Resistance, Tricia Hersey argues that taking time to rest—through naps, through unhurried readings of books, and through connecting with your body—is an essential component of being an activist and being able to resist unjust policies and practices. Rest can also dissipate apathy and reignite hope. Melanie Shoffner, the editor of English Education, recently wrote, “Here’s the thing about hope, though: It’s hard to lose. It flowers through our cracks and stitches back our edges. It catches our heart with a brief flicker or an unexpected burst. Anger turns to action; sorrow turns to acceptance. Hope might feel different, but it’s still there” (Shoffner, 2022, p. 4).
In a recent survey of ELATE members, when asked about the needs of ELA teachers and teacher educators right now, two key themes emerged: (1) the need to continue to enact critical, culturally relevant, queer and trans, and antiracist pedagogies in the face of anti-CRT rhetoric and “divisive concepts” legislation and (2) the need to engage in self-care, rest, and practices that foster community, joy, and hope.
This summer, the ELATE conference will focus on both of these desires. Our vision is to provide opportunities for participants to connect, rest, laugh, enjoy good food and drinks, restore hope, and replenish stores of energy through joyful engagements. As we rest and connect, we also consider how to integrate joy, rest, and care into our teacher education spaces. At the same time, we will organize for justice. This means teacher educators sharing stories, research findings, and visions with one another, as well as bringing in the voices of ELA teachers, students, and community members who are engaged in antiracist, critical pedagogies in spite of constraints. Please read the descriptions of presentation formats below closely and note that presentations that deviate from traditional formats are welcomed and encouraged. ELATE has been and will continue to be a leader in providing space and resources for justice-centered teaching to literacy educators across the nation and internationally.
This conference will continue with the theme of “homecoming” from last summer’s NCTE gathering. Echoing last year’s call from Latrise Johnson, past ELATE chair, the 2023 ELATE Summer Conference will provide space for healing, restoration, and community. And while we rest in this homeplace and collectively build hope, we also strategize and organize. Atlanta offers a great location for ELATE members to engage in joyful, restful pursuits and to connect with and build on a legacy of organizing for justice that changed the course of history.
We invite English language arts teacher educators and other members of literacy communities to consider the conference theme of Centering Hope and Organizing for Justice when developing proposals. We are especially keen on connecting with early scholars and graduate students. For proposals, we invite workshops, roundtables, panels/papers, and alternative formats with the following questions in mind:
- How should/could ELA teacher preparation and development spaces help teachers navigate and combat “divisive concepts” legislation, book banning, or other obstacles to enacting antiracist and critical pedagogies?
- How can teacher educators and K–12 classroom teachers discuss the racist origins of this country—reckon with the foundations of chattel slavery and genocide that are the roots of the United States of America?
- How can teacher educators and K–12 classroom teachers include discussion of LGBTQIA+ topics, socioeconomic inequalities, religious persecution, and other topics that might feel “too political” in the current climate?
- What is the role of young adult (YA) literature in creating “queer ruptures” (Schey & Blackburn, 2019) for preservice teachers and their students to embrace complexity and different ways of being?
- How can tools of racial literacy and intersectionality be utilized in teacher education and K–12 teaching to help teachers and students “deconstruct imperialist, white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy” (Allen, 2019, p. 90)?
- What is the role of joy and rest in justice-centered teacher preparation and development? How can teacher preparation and development create joyful and restful experiences for teachers—and their students?
- In studying teacher education, how can theories and methods linked to queer futurity (Muñoz, 2009), endarkened storywork (Tolliver, 2022), and “otherwise possibilities” such as Double Dutch methodology (Green, 2020) aid scholars in producing powerful, inspiring, and impactful work?
Allen, K. M. (2019). Transformative vision: Examining the racial literacy practices of a Black male teacher with his Black male students. Journal for Multicultural Education, 13(1), 82–93.
Green, K. L. (2020). Radical imagination and “otherwise possibilities” in qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 33(1), 115–127.
Hersey, T. (2022). Rest is resistance: A manifesto. Little, Brown Spark.
Muñoz, J. E. (2009). Cruising utopia: The then and there of queer futurity. New York University Press.
Ransby, B. (2018). Making all Black lives matter: Reimagining freedom in the twenty-first century. University of California Press.
Schey, R., & Blackburn, M. (2019). Queer ruptures of normative literacy practices: Toward visualizing, hypothesizing, and empathizing. Research in the Teaching of English, 54(1), 58–80.
Shoffner, M. (2022). The color of hope. English Education, 55(1), 4–6.
Tolliver, S. R. (2022). Recovering Black storytelling in qualitative research: Endarkened storywork. Routledge.
To create a conference experience that is joyful, restful, and intellectually stimulating, we encourage alternative formats for presenting your thinking, research, and teaching practices. Proposals that include preservice teachers, inservice teachers, P–12 students, parents/guardians, and/or community members are also encouraged. All proposals should include audience interaction and engagement.
ELATE-ABLE: Roundtable Talks (1 hour)
Roundtable sessions will consist of four to five individual presenters who briefly introduce a specific dialogue-provoking topic that situates and supports focused conversation for roundtable attendees. Roundtable sessions should not consist of lengthy one-sided presentations but instead focus on developing thoughtful discussion over the hour provided, guided by some thought-provoking and relevant questions. If you are proposing a full roundtable session, submit one proposal that includes the required information for all facilitators; otherwise, the conference planners will match you with other roundtables to create (as best as possible) a coherent roundtable session.
(Re)Active Praxis: Workshop Sessions (1 hour)
Workshop sessions will engage participants in a focused activity grounded in the conference theme. Led by one to three facilitators, workshops will provide an introduction to and contextual support for a specific activity that will allow participants to produce a tangible product of some sort in the time provided.
Real Talk: Problems of Practice (1 hour)
These sessions focus on facilitated conversations surrounding problems of practice. These should be opportunities to share and brainstorm. The purpose of the facilitator is not to present the solution but rather to pose questions and work to involve all attendees in sharing experiences, resources, and ideas. The problems of practice can include any issue that you and others are encountering in our field. Submissions could hold the theme loosely and should do the following: (1) focus on specific questions/issues; (2) include background information regarding the issue; (3) consider what you or others have done to address it; and (4) set goals or outcomes for the session and for future work. Possible questions/issues could be these:
- How can we better situate teacher education within the strengths and cultural wealth of the communities we serve?
- What are our responsibilities to our broader communities, and how can we better be in dialogue with them as teacher educators?
- How can we better engage students in authentic projects while at a distance?
- What are some practices for blending synchronous and asynchronous video communication?
- How can we better mentor PhD students?
- What changes should be made to teacher preparation programs, what are the obstacles to those changes, and how can we overcome them?
- How do we better infuse educational technology into subject-specific teaching methods courses or practicum experiences?
- How do we support school districts in their efforts to address issues related to injustice?
The Classic: Panel Discussions (1 hour)
Panel discussions will consist of two to three individual presentations around a common theme. Each panelist will offer a 10- to 15-minute presentation, and then all panelists will engage in a brief discussion of the panel’s common theme. Panel discussions should also include audience interaction and engagement. If you are proposing a complete panel, submit one proposal that includes the required information for all panelists; otherwise, the conference planners will match you with other panelists to create (as best as possible) a coherent panel.
The Re-Mix: Other Format (time can vary)
ELATE will also consider alternative formats. As noted, an alternative presentation could take the form of a lesson, podcast, piece of art, music, poetry, meditation, etc. The conference planners will help to decide how such formats will be best shared with ELATE Conference attendees and wider audiences. These may be integrated with the formats above to create multimodal, art-infused sessions.
- Name and institutional affiliation
- Postal address
- Email address
- Title of presentation or session
- Abstract (maximum 50 words)
- Description (maximum 250 words)—include topic; connection to ELA teaching and learning, being, and doing; rationale; significance; and plans for engaging the audience
- Names and information of others to be included in the session or strand, if applicable
- Proposal database is now open
- Proposal submission deadline: 9:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, February 28, 2023
- Proposal notifications: by May 8, 2023
- Conference dates: July 6–9, 2023, Georgia State University, Atlanta
Submitting a Proposal
The proposal database is now open.
Questions can be sent to NCTEevents@ncte.org.