Dec 27 2015

2016 OCUFA Conference Addresses Academic Precarity

Category: Conferences,Contract FacultyBob Hanke @ 9:10 pm

Confronting precarious academic work

February 11-12, 2016

The conference examined the realities and impact of precarious academic work on our universities and consider solutions now and for the future.

Key themes include:

  • Current realities of precarious academic work and the impact on faculty, students, and higher education
  • Learning from the experience of precarious labour in other jurisdictions
  • Responding to the challenges of precarious academic work: current directions and future needs
  • Re-imagining academic work for the future

The 1 1/2 day conference was held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Toronto.

You can access the conference agenda, slides and audio here.

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Jul 05 2015

CUPE 3908 Call for Presenters: Academic Precarity Symposium

Category: ConferencesBob Hanke @ 11:54 am

Challenging Academic Precarity

October 2-4, 2015 Artspace, Peterborough ON

Academia has long been heralded as the ivory tower to which we all should aspire and those that are admitted are thought to be well compensated. With the prevailing winds of neoliberalism blowing at the doors, the corporatization of the university has witnessed the reduction of tenured faculty positions. At the same time, increasing resources have been assigned to professional administration. The result is that more and more full-time academics are paid part-time wages and forced to endure precarity when alternatives abound.

This interdisciplinary symposium seeks to situate and understand how these trends emerged and continue to develop. The first two days will feature a keynote address, roundtables and panel discussions. The final day will be an exploration of avenues for future intervention and activism.

We seek proposals for the following possible subject matter:

* Political economy of ‘just in time’ academic labour
* Forms of resistance and protest
* Engaging tenured & tenure-track faculty
* Student academic workers’ plight
* Mobilization strategies
* Challenging precarity with art
* Movement to zero tuition

We welcome diverse proposals and formats including, but not limited to, full panel proposals, multimedia presentations, artistic interventions, and, of course, more conventional academic papers.Please send all abstracts and/or presentation proposals in either .rtf, .docx, or .pdf formats to by August 25th, 2015. Please limit your proposal to no more than 250 words. Notifications will be sent out by September 1, 2015. Please send all other inquiries to: James Onusko at

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Feb 06 2015

Report Back from COCAL XI

Category: Academic Freedom,ConferencesBob Hanke @ 11:28 am

International adjuncts in solidarity: COCAL XI

Precarious academic labour transcends borders in 200-member adjunct “think tank.”

by Kane X. Faucher

(excerpted from University Affairs, January 29, 2015)

This past August, I attended the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labour conference (COCAL XI) in New York City. The biennial event, which has been running since 1998, brings together adjuncts from around the world to discuss the challenges that face “adjunctification” in higher education. For those who are interested, the 2016 COCAL will be hosted in Edmonton, Alberta. Previous Canadian cities to host have been Quebec City (2010), Vancouver (2006) and Montreal (2002). For those not familiar with COCAL, it is not an organization but a movement that empowers local labour actors both inside and outside the academy, recognizing that labour fairness is a key principle of social justice.

Due to its international scope there are some acknowledged limitations such as labour laws, university and college structures, union coverage, and other issues particular to regions and specific institutions. To overcome these differences, the conference focuses on what unites contingent academic workers, and works to develop an array of tools and tactics in the spirit of collaboration and solidarity. The affectionately dubbed “COCAListas” – organizers and attendees alike – all share a strong belief in the value of higher education, resisting its commodification, and pushing back against the exploitation of our underpaid and too frequently unappreciated academic professionals. Issues of labour equity and academic freedom are treated as inseparable and essential aspects of the higher education mission.

Amidst serious and high-level policy talk there was also occasion for a collaborative poetry reading, a presentation of books written by and about adjuncts, and numerous “hallway chats” between sessions where attendees could discuss finer points not covered during the plenary sessions. Plenary speakers included representatives from New Faculty Majority (NFM), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ-CSN), as well as several faculty unions from across Canada, US, and Mexico – a veritable who’s who of academic labour organizations – all dedicated to improving the working conditions of academic workers.

To read the rest of this article, click here.






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Aug 09 2014

Another University Is Possible

Category: ConferencesBob Hanke @ 10:10 am

Another University Is Possible: Praxis, Activism, and the Promise of Critical Pedagogy

Riverside Convention Center, Riverside, Greater Los Angeles Area, California
21-24 May, 2015

The Cultural Studies Association (CSA) invites proposals from its current and future members for participation in its thirteenth annual meeting in the Riverside Convention Center, Riverside, Greater Los Angeles Area, California.

Proposals from all areas and on all topics of relevance to cultural studies are welcome, and are not limited to proposals that critically and creatively engage this year’s highlighted problematic.

This year’s theme, “Another University is Possible: Praxis, Activism, and the Promise of Critical Pedagogy,” plays on the World Social Forum’s motto, “Another World is Possible.” It expresses a commitment to the intellectual and political project of a radically different university. Moving beyond policy and pundit-driven discussions of the state and the future of higher education, we seek proposals that highlight socially-engaged scholarship and activism, and projects that explore the transformative possibilities embedded in the present. What forms and formations of research, pedagogy, praxis, and activism have emerged from the struggles being waged in, around, through, and in spite of institutions of higher education? What roles can culture, theory, imagination, and technology play in these struggles? Taking up cultural studies’ historical commitment to the interrogation of the relations among knowledge, power, and social transformation, the 2015 Cultural Studies Association conference seeks to provide an insurgent intellectual space for imagining, enacting, and mapping new forms of knowledge production and scholarly communication and community.

We are particularly interested in work that links the global neo-liberal conjuncture of higher education to local acts of collective resistance and action, and back again. We want to know more about how students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community partners are responding to the current social, legal, economic, financial, political, cultural, institutional, and intellectual challenges and possibilities: student debt as a means of financing higher education institutions; court cases that attack the history and practice of affirmative action; the rise in union activity on campuses; the re-entrenchment of the “humanities” as a division under “crisis”; the emergent emphasis on MOOCs and other online forms of education that extend the already dominant casualization of academic labor; the emergence of public and digital pedagogy and scholarship; the ambivalent politics of academic freedom; the reduction of education to vocational training and degrees to commodified credentials; the role of universities in reproducing or amplifying (rather than reducing) the social inequalities of contemporary capitalism; and the university as a site of capital accumulation and dispossession, among many other trends and tendencies.

To read the complete call for papers, click here.

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Jul 06 2014

COCAL and Working USA Call for Papers: Contingent Academic Labor

Category: Conferences,ResearchBob Hanke @ 8:34 pm

Contingent Academic Labor

WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society (WUSA) is devoting a special issue to contingent academic labor in the USA, North America and throughout the world.  The journal encourages cross-disciplinary essays drawn from the social sciences and the humanities that examine the contemporary significance of contingent academic labor using a range of methods and empirical analysis.  Essays should focus on the study of work, labor, capitalism, the state, and bureaucracy.

The editors especially seek essays drawn from presentations at the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor XI conference in August, 2014 in New York City. We encourage submissions by activists and organizers as well academic researchers. Articles can be case studies, memoirs, interviews or oral histories, if they also raise more general points of interest.

We encourage essays that include one or more of the following:

* Reach theoretical insights in addressing the relevance of the status and experiences of contingent academic labor through comparative/historical perspectives.
* Examine the conditions and experiences of adjunct laborers in the context of the political economy of knowledge.
* Compare and contrast contingent academic laborers to analogous workers in the labor market that is referred to as “precarious work”.
* Examine the ways in which the politics and economics of contingent labor intersect with issues of race, gender, ethnicity, and/or sexuality.
* Contribute theoretical insights on the actuality and potential for forgoing bonds of solidarity that increase working class power and build stronger institutions.
* Contribute to the strategic discussion of organizing among contingent academics and the considerations of alliances, techniques, structures, and consciousness.
* Compare and contrast the situation and collective struggles of contingent academics in the US with those in other nations, especially Canada (including Quebec), and Mexico.

Please submit papers by October 15, 2015.
All essay submissions are sent through a peer review process.  Click on the names below to send essays to editorial board members and guest editors.
Joe Berry (Editorial Board)
Marcia Newfield (Editorial Board)
Polina Kroik (Associate Editor)
Immanuel Ness (Editorial Board)

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