Revolt! Student Protests from 1968 to Today, A Symposium

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    Catherine Winters

    February 1968: three African American men are shot and killed at South Carolina State University during a protest against racial segregation.  March 1968: Warsaw University students protest the banning of a performance of the play Dziady by Adam Mickiewicz. May 1968: tens of thousands of students and workers take to the streets in France, demanding radical change, from dismantling authoritarian political structures to democratizing social and cultural institutions including education and media. June 1968: Belgrade University students begin a seven day strike during which their protests are banned; they are beaten by police officers. While the 1960s was a decade defined by protest worldwide, the year 1968 witnessed an escalation of unrest marked by a number of massive, and sometimes violent, student movements.

    Fifty years later, the role of college campuses as sites of protest remains as crucial and as controversial as ever. As students demand a voice in the way their institutions respond to systemic and institutionalized racism, the devaluing of higher education, campus rape and gender inequality, graduate student rights, and an influx of speakers from the alt-right, college campuses have once again become a visible nucleus of student protest. This one-day symposium will examine the role of student activism, past and present, and address the ongoing battle against systemic inequalities and social injustices that are once again at the center of attention on our campuses.


    We invite abstracts in areas of social justice, literature, digital humanities, multicultural studies, peace studies, history, education, art, and other disciplines that explore the cultural, historical, and/or critical contexts of the act of protest, distribution and creation of protest literature in print and nonprint formations, and the performative junctures between protest and spectatorship. Additional topics include but are not limited to the following:


    Theoretical responses to protest

    Creative modes of social protest

    The rhetoric of dissent

    Protest literature

    Protest in the Classroom

    Protest and Pedagogy

    Protest and Free Speech

    Students and Social Movements

    Universities and Society

    Education and Civil Rights

    Institutions and Social Responsibility

    Technology and Protest

    Theatrical protest and presentation

    Performative responses to protest


    Guidelines for Submission:

    We are accepting submissions of abstracts for papers of 20 minutes in length. Please submit your 250-300 word abstract, required contact and background information through the conference website by clicking on the “Submit Your Abstract” link. Direct all questions regarding submissions and conference details to with “Revolt Symposium” in the subject line. Please visit our conference website for more information. Deadline for submissions: Midnight on June 15, 2018.

    The symposium will be Friday, September 14th, 2018 at Feinstein Providence Campus, University of Rhode Island (Shepard Building at 80 Washington Street, Providence, RI).

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