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Student Conference


“Paths to the Future: Reflecting on Agency in an Age of Uncertainty”

 Abstracts due by 5pm on Wednesday March 9th, 2016

The International Studies Programs at DePaul & University of Illinois at Chicago invite graduate and undergraduate students to submit a one page research paper proposal for the 205 annual student conference to be held on Friday April 29th at DePaul University. Submissions must follow the conference proposal guidelines.
To many of us, the one certainty about our future is that it is uncertain. Faced with climate change, record-breaking student debt, a broken political system, rising inequality, and refugee crises, it is hard to tell where the coming years will lead. Some foresee disaster while others maintain faith in the status quo. Meanwhile, there are also those who are actively imagining and creating alternative futures. These include liberatory movements like Occupy, Black Live Matter, the Arab Spring, and organized responses to austerity, but also encompass frightening and retrograde formations like ISIS and Boko Haram in the Middle East and Africa, the growth of xenophobia in Europe, and the rise of the obstructive far-right in the United States. 

The theme of this year’s conference, Paths to the Future: Reflecting on Agency in an Age of Uncertainty, invites students to reflect on the capacity of human agency to shape uncertain futures. We invite submissions from any discipline or methodology. Submissions should consider one or more of the following questions:
  • How are competing visions for the future playing out in the international sphere?
  • Through what means are various actors attempting to shape the future?
  • How do today’s social, political, and economic structures influence human agency and expectations for the future?
 Submissions may address these questions in developments such as (but not limited to):
  • Climate change and environmental limits to capitalism
  • Mass migration and refugee crises
  • Politics of identity around the LGBTQ issues, race, feminism, and religion
  • Formations on the far right, new fascisms
  • Policing, repression, and surveillance
  • Politics of consumption and the consumer-as-actor
  • Neoliberalism and its future
  • Network democracy and control over information
  • Knowledge forming institutions, such as the university, media, and literature
  • War, militarization, and imperialism
You must follow the specific proposal requirements regarding content and formatting outlined in order to be considered for the conference. Submit your proposals to Susan Dirr at by 5pm on Wednesday March 9th, 2016.