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"How Class Works" Conference

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Jun 9 2016
Jun 11 2016
America/New York

Call for Proposals: "How Class Works" 2016 Conference at Stony Brook in June '16

Proposals are sought for "How Class Works-2016," a conference at SUNY Stony Brook set for June 9-11, 2016. 

Proposals for papers, presentations, and sessions are welcome until Dec. 9, according to the guidelines below. For more information, visit

Purpose and orientation: This conference explores ways in which an explicit recognition of class helps to understand the social world and the variety of ways in which analysis of societies can deepen understanding of class as a social relationship across the globe. Theoretical and historical presentations should take as their point of reference the lived experience of class in the 20th and 21st centuries, within nations and internationally. Presentations are welcome from people outside academic life, when they sum up and reflect upon social experience in ways that contribute to conference themes and discussion. Formal papers are welcome but are not required. All presentations should be accessible to an interdisciplinary audience.

Conference themes: The conference welcomes proposals for sessions and presentations that advance understanding of any of the following themes:

  • The mosaic of class, race, and gender: To explore how class shapes racial, gender, and ethnic experience and how different racial, gender and ethnic experiences within various classes shape the meaning of class.
  • Class, power, and social structure: To explore how the social lives of working, middle and capitalist classes are structured by various forms of power; to explore ways in which class dynamics shape power structures in workplaces and across broader societies.
  • Class in an age of income inequality:  To explore the implications and consequences of the growing income gap between top earners and the rest for the lived experience in class in different corners of the world.
  • Class, Community, and the Environment: To explore ways in which class informs communities and environmental conditions where people work as well as where they live; also to consider questions of “home,” community formation and sustenance and environmental justice.
  • Class in a global economy: To explore how class identity and class dynamics are influenced by globalization, including the transnational movements of industry, capital and capitalist elites; the experience of cross-border labor migration and organizing; and international labor and environmental standards.
  • Middle class? Working class? What's the difference and why does it matter? To explore the claim that the U.S. and other developed nations have become middle-class societies, contrasting with the notion that the working class is the majority; to unpack the relationships between the middle class and capitalist, working and other subordinate classes both in the developed and the developing world.
  • Class, public policy, and electoralpolitics: To explore how class affects public deliberations and policy in a variety of nations around the world, with special attention to health care, the criminal justice system, labor law, poverty, tax and other economic policy, housing and education; to explore the place of electoral politics in the arrangement of class forces on policy matters.
  • Class and culture: To explore ways in which cultures and subcultures transmit, sustain and transform class dynamics around the world.
  • Pedagogy of class: To explore techniques and materials useful for teaching about class, at K-12 levels, in college and university courses, and in labor studies and adult education courses.

How to submit proposals for How Class Works – 2016 Conference:  Proposals for panel sessions (three or four papers) and roundtables that bring diverse perspectives and experiences into dialogue are welcome, including scholars with activists; those working on similar themes in different disciplines; as well as those working on similar issues in different parts of the world. Proposals for individual presentations are also welcome.

Proposals for presentations must include the following information(for session proposals, this information must be included for all proposed presentations, as well as indication of presenters’ willingness to participate): a) short descriptive title b) which of the conference themes will be addressed c) a maximum 250-word summary of the main subject matter, points and methodology d) relevant personal information indicating institutional affiliation (if any) and what training or experience the presenter brings to the proposal e) presenter’s name, address, telephone, fax and email address. A person may present in at most two conference sessions. To allow time for discussion, sessions will be limited to three 20-minute or four 15-minute principal presentations. Sessions will not include official discussants.  

Submit proposals as an email attachment to or as hard copy by mail to How Class Works  - 2016 Conference, Center for Study of Working Class Life, Department of Economics, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384.

Timetable:  Proposals must be received by Dec. 9. After review by the program committee, notifications will be mailed by the end of January 2016. The conference will be at SUNY Stony Brook, June 9-11, 2016. Conference registration and housing reservations will be possible after March 7, 2016. Details and updates will be posted at   

Conference coordinator: Michael Zweig, director, Center for Study of Working Class Life, Department of Economics, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384; 631-632-7536;

Conference Date: 
Jun 9 2016 - Jun 11 2016
Application/Proposal Deadline: 
Dec 9 2015
Stony Brook, NY
Contact Email: