CfP: Thinking and Organizing at the Margins of Traditional Housing. Travel assistance available!

CfP due 12/1. Conference 3/1-3/3 at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN USA

The margins of traditional housing, those precarious or makeshift spaces against which dominant models of property ownership and exclusion are constructed, have long been a powerful site from which to theorize, organize, and resist. Homelessness, eviction, squatters’ rights, and the right to land all find their way into fruitful interdisciplinary scholarship, much of which links these struggles to broader questions of citizenship, governance, and exclusion. Meanwhile many of the same root problems motivate housing activists around the globe. These community organizing struggles create a more grounded, pragmatic critiques and strategies, as activists deploy popular education to empower those immediately affected and often situate their movements within broader social justice movements, from labor struggles to fights for racial or caste justice.

We call this conference in the belief that much of the work around these intertwined topics from those within and outside of the academy runs along parallel tracks, and that we have as much to learn from each other’s investigations of these topics as we do from our own research and organizing practices. Our intention is to create a space in which the unique work done by organizers and academics can collide and expand in unpredictable and unexpected ways, fostered by the proximity that is rare across both divides both geographic and work-related in nature.

Instead of traditional paper sessions, participants will be grouped into thematic sessions based on their own expressed interests. We are also excited to receive proposed sessions or themes from participants as well!

To apply for “Thinking and Organizing at the Margins of Traditional Housing,” please send a brief (~300 words) summary of something you would like to talk about at the conference. Below are some themes which may provide fertile ground for reflection, but are not in any way intended to set boundaries on submissions or ideas:

  • Successes and struggles of doing praxis at the margins of traditional housing
  • Intersections between raced, gendered, and hetero-normative constructions of “home,” and struggles for alternative models, particularly among people living in poverty.
  • Intersections between policing practices, mass incarceration, and housing (in)justices
  • The role of practices such as social work, radical care, and harm reduction in housing
  • Dispossession, eviction, and forced migration
  • How different struggles over land claims and governance can enable or shape alternative modes of housing

To apply, please email (both) Eric Goldfischer ( and Teresa Gowan ( by December 1st, 2017, with your abstract/outline. In your email, please indicate your position (i.e. academic faculty, graduate student, activist) and any additional roles you’re interested in performing at the conference, such as chairing a session, being a discussant on a panel, or organizing a side activity.

GRADUATE STUDENTS AND ACTIVISTS: We have a number of travel stipends to support graduate students, activists, and anyone else with limited means to attend the conference. If you are interested in applying for a stipend, please attach a document to your conference application which states the following:

  • Name
  • Institutional or organizational affiliation
  • Where you will be travelling from
  • A couple of paragraphs on how attending the conference will benefit your work