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Craft Critique Culture Conference 2020: Justice Framed

Call for Papers

The University of Iowa English Department invites proposals for its 2020 Annual Conference, Craft Critique Culture, to be held on the campus of The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.

Event date: Friday, April 17 – Saturday, April 18, 2020

Abstract deadline: Friday, January 24th, 2020

Categories: interdisciplinary, humanities, arts, literature, language, politics, law, social justice, criminal justice, race, gender, LGBTQ+

CRAFT CRITIQUE CULTURE is an interdisciplinary conference focusing on the intersections of critical and creative approaches to writing both within and beyond the academy. This year’s conference will interrogate frames of justice, criminality, and deviancy.

Jacques Derrida states that justice “is that which must not wait.” At the same time, he acknowledges the paradox that justice has yet to arrive: “justice remains, is yet, to come, venir.” In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King describes the “myth of time” that society propagates to maintain social, class, and racial hierarchies. The government, media, and public caution marginalized peoples to “be patient” and “wait”—they say that justice will come in time. Through this spiritual bypassing, society can falsely, but effectively, accuse those fighting for justice as “agitators” and “incendiaries.” The fight for justice thus becomes framed as criminal and deviant behavior. MLK resists this framing in his letter when he urges us to see that “‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’” This tension between justice yet to come and justice that cannot be delayed demonstrates the complicated, variant, and urgent purviews of justice.

CCC 2020 seeks submissions that explore the broad concepts of “justice,” “criminality,” or “deviancy.” Whether it is the media and government’s targeting of civil rights activists in the 1960s, the policing of black, indigenous, poor, and migrant folks, or in the criminalization of LGTBTQ+ identities, “deviance” is punished by society. Thus, “justice framed” can mean anything from social justice activism to the ways in which “justice” is used to advance oppression. While the theme asks that we think about the many ways that justice is “framed” (e.g. how it is formulated, how it is repudiated, and how it is abstracted), it also asks that we radically and consciously reimagine what justice could be. For if we take seriously Angela Davis’s assertion that “justice is indivisible,” then we must also consider her declaration: “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”

Possible areas of focus might include but are not limited to the following:

Who do current “justice” systems protect, and who do they target / harm?
Transformative, restorative, and other forms of justice in comparison to punitive justice systems
What should be the responsibilities, duties, and actions of those who witness injustice? What does an “ethical / moral witness” to injustice look like?
The role of storytelling, art, and humanities in transforming our ideas of justice and criminality
Who does society define as criminals or deviants? How do we redefine “criminality” or “deviancy?”
The relationship between criminality/deviancy and reaching justice
Religious, spiritual, or faith-based notions of justice
Economic and environmental applications of injustice under capitalism / crimes against land and justice for land
Social justice activism and pedagogy
Prison abolition, decriminalization, police reform, and racial justice
Queer, reproductive, and gendered justice
In what ways have crimes against land and people been normalized and capitalized, and how do they intersect?
The distinctions between justice and law
How technology and surveillance systems are used for or against “justice”
Borders (geographical, conceptual, ideological, literary, political, and bodily) and the criminalization of people and movements
National/transnational deviancy, crime, justice and injustice: cultural, linguistic, historical, commercial, ideological

We invite proposal submissions for the following categories:

Panel Presentations
Roundtable sessions

Please submit 300-word abstracts along with your name, department, email, and university affiliation (if any) to by Friday, January 24, 2020.

For more information, you can visit our website at:

Twitter: @craft_crit_cult