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In celebration of Thurgood Marshall College’s 50th Anniversary, the Dimensions of Culture Program is organizing and hosting a CONFERENCE in Spring Quarter 2021 that explores learning and teaching for justice in higher education. We ultimately ask: what do just learning and teaching look like in and beyond the classroom?  Deadline for session proposals has been extended to January 29, 2021 -- see below.

In centering this question of learning for justice especially beyond the classroom, the organizing committee is proud to announce poet and author Saeed Jones as the conference’s keynote speaker. Saeed Jones is the author of the memoir How We Fight for Our Lives, winner of the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, and the poetry collection Prelude to Bruise, winner of the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. The poetry collection was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as awards from Lambda Literary and the Publishing Triangle in 2015. Saeed Jones’s writings help us consider how learning for justice emerges from our complex and intersecting lived experiences.

We intend for this conference to be active, interactive, and inclusive—a space for educators to be students, and for students to educate, recognizing that “teaching” is not done just by academics for students in lecture halls but occurs in residential halls/apartments, academic advising sessions, student organizations, campus centers, and other formal and informal learning communities across the university, and that educators do, and must, learn from their students.

The conference prioritizes practical and interactive sessions that share strategies and practices for cultivating equity, inclusion, and anti-racism throughout higher education, from the perspective of students, educators, and administrators across the disciplines. To create these transformational encounters, we will select for active learning sessions—not professors reading papers from the lectern or panelists talking past each other, but rather sessions that engage with an audience and draw out varied perspectives. We will prioritize sessions that attend to our current socio-political moment, can be delivered through remote formats, and center the voices and experiences of students.

To that end, conference sessions will include student voices—either as presentation participants or through student panels that will frame and respond to the educator presentations. Proposals with student participants are therefore especially welcome, but proposals without student participants will be linked by conference organizers with student panels/presenters to help ensure that students’ voices are part of every session at the conference.

In convening the Learning/Teaching for Justice conference, the conference committee is especially interested in interactive sessions that engage with but are not limited to the following themes and questions:

  • Anti-racism in higher education -- How are racist policies, practices, and representations identified, confronted, and resisted on college campuses? At UC San Diego specifically, how do students experience anti-racist educational practices and how do they feel they benefit from those practices?
  • Justice across difference -- What are practical strategies to take into account how the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, citizenship status, English language fluency, geographic location, and religion complicate working with peers towards common goals of learning about and enacting social change?
  • Breaking borders between disciplines -- What is the role of multiple disciplines in looking inward and in working together to confront injustice?
  • Reckoning with institutionalization -- Is change from within the institution possible?
  • Communal care -- How do we care for ourselves and our peers while confronting systems of oppression? How do students create systems of care for each other?
  • Anti-hierarchical collaborations -- How do we resist the power hierarchies and dynamics between student and professor, administration and staff, campus and community, etc.?
  • Reflection and action amidst COVID-19 -- How is political consciousness cultivated and expressed during the pandemic? What are connections between teaching and learning for justice and the conditions of the global pandemic?

Ultimately, this conference has as its goal the transformation of the UC San Diego academic community; by creating new connections and coalitions through promising educational practices that center justice and the student experience, we will affect material change at UC San Diego and beyond.

To propose a session at the Learning/Teaching for Justice Conference, please complete this form ( by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time January 29, 2021. Participants will be notified of their acceptance within four to six weeks after submission. Organizers encourage a wide and creative range of proposed sessions.

These sessions can include:

  • Asynchronous multimodal presentation (e.g., screencast and discussion board)
  • Roundtable discussions: Brief introductory topic framing by the facilitator(s), followed by a facilitated discussion with attendees
  • Engaged learning experiences: Creation of a learning space that produces knowledge about teaching/learning for justice in a dynamic and atypical way, for instance through problem-solving groups, spoken-word poetry, dramatization/improv, making, role-playing, storytelling, gaming, etc.
  • Collaborative Writing Circle: Guided production of a written text that responds to the themes of the conference.
  • Works-in-Progress Presentation (with shared materials): Chance to share current learning/teaching strategies for justice in development for feedback and collaboration.
  • Custom (to be designed by presenters and described in application form)


Please direct any questions to Dr. Amanda Solomon Amorao,