Arcus Without Borders

By Olivia Nalugya

The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership to host its first conference in next fall, September 24-28, 2014

According to the conference website, “the 2014 gathering aims to question, interrogate and complicate the very notion of borders from a number of intersectional, cartographical, ideological, political, cultural, and social locations.”

Lisa Brock, Associate Professor of History and Academic Director of the Center, maintains that it is going to be a conference as well as an “unconference.” The conference aspect encompasses the major events that the center has planned for the three days such as proposals, plenaries, a poetry night, and presentations from musicians and artists.

However, the “unconference” aspects of the conference include “things that could happen spontaneously, so students could decide to do a performance, a party, a pop up panel discussion or something related to students,” Brock explained.

There will also be a bulletin board for participants to jot down topics for further discussions that arise during the conference discussions.

The Center extended the deadline for submissions of proposals for papers, roundtables, think–tanks, and workshops for the conference aspect until February 15 in order to give people more time to work on their proposals.

Karla Aguilar ’13, the Center’s Student Fellow, revealed that there have been a couple of proposal submissions from all over the world from various countries, states, universities and a few from Kalamazoo College staff, students and alumni.

More submissions from students, especially, are greatly encouraged and the center is willing to accept ideas from students a few days past the deadline because they would love for students to be engaged in these conversations.

There is no specific deadline for submission of “unconference” ideas. Students can plan to have those conversations in the course of the gathering as long as they notify the organizers for planning purposes.

Based on the proposals submitted so far, the conference will likely include conversations about African boarders, undocumented youth in the United States, environmental justice, and much more.

Students are specifically encouraged to register for the conference.

“You don’t have to present to register, we want the students to come and hear all these great conversations, proposals and panels,” Brock said. Registration is free for anyone with a Kalamazoo College ID.

Organizers of the conference plan on meeting with various student organizations in the coming weeks. Brock concluded by stressing “there is still a lot of opportunity for participation.”

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