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Reclaiming Literacy Research: Centering Activism, Community, and Love

Literacy Research Association 68th Annual Conference
November 28th to December 1st, 2018
Indian Wells, California (Renaissance Esmeralda Indian Wells Resort & Spa)

The Literacy Research Association, a non-profit professional organization, is comprised of individuals who share an interest in advancing literacy theory, research, and practice. We are a community that engages in research and dialogue pertaining to literacy and related topics. We support the professional development of emerging and established scholars. We advocate research-informed improvements in education. We seek high-quality research and discussions of important theoretical or methodological issues. Only original work related to literacy not presented or published elsewhere may be proposed for the conference.

The theme of the 2018 conference is Reclaiming Literacy Research: Centering Activism, Community, and Love. In resistance to the current social and political climate, members of overlapping and intersecting oppressed communities, including Indigenous people, people of color, women, gender nonconforming and trans people, [un]documented immigrants, and disabled bodied people, have inspired the act of reclaiming time and power to fight against hatred and dehumanization, racial and gender injustices, and other acts of violence. These realities are not peripheral to literacy research. Literacy research matters, and it has the potential to work against social inequities or to further perpetuate harm and even be used against the people and communities it is meant to serve. To reclaim literacy research signals toward a call to honor and listen to members of communities about the historical and contemporaneous role of literacies and literate knowledges in their everyday lives and the lives of future generations. This theme invites us to critically reflect on and answer questions about our relationships to and with communities and the purpose and impact of our work. How do we envision literacy research as forms of activism? How do particular theoretical perspectives and methodologies draw upon resistant, activist literacies to reengage research aimed toward social action with, not on, communities? How do we as literacy researchers work in solidarity and build coalitions with communities? How do we cultivate and sustain these relationships imbued with an ethos and praxis of love? Activist poet and writer June Jordan wrote, “Maybe the purpose of being here, wherever we are, is to increase the durability and occasions of love among and between peoples.” We encourage proposals that demonstrate dialogue “among and between” diverse peoples and perspectives about the ways that love serves as a critical and necessary act for literacy research with aims to inform policy and practice that impacts communities. We especially invite sessions that draw upon Indigenous, decolonizing, racial justice focused, critical race, Black feminist, queer, and humanizing methodologies to center the histories, genealogies, knowledges, and literacies rooted within communities.