2021 AMERICAN READING FORUM CONFERENCE
Thursday, December 9 - Friday, December 10, 2021
Conference Theme: Literacy as Power: Creating Socially Just Communities and Futures in Tumultuous Times
The ARF Board has made the challenging but responsible decision to move this year's conference to a virtual format. As the Delta variant of COVID has continued to infect people across the US, we simply cannot justify asking our valued colleagues to travel across the country putting themselves and others at risk. Guided by this year's conference theme, Literacy as Power: Creating Socially Just Communities and Futures in Tumultuous Times, our conference chairs remain committed to bringing you a full program of quality sessions, following the same general format that we would employ if we were meeting in person. We will have keynotes and concurrent sessions on Thursday, December 9 & Friday, December 10.
The American Reading Forum Board and Chairs, through the 2021 Call to focus on social justice, strive to bring literacy to the forefront as a change agent. Literacy is never neutral. Indeed, the who of literacy -- who has access to literacy, who does not, and for what ends -- has always been politically contested and brandished as a tool of power. Literacy, for instance, has been used to perpetuate systems of oppression such as racism; Whiteness; sexism; heteronormativity; and linguistic subordination. Our current political moment is rife with divisive rhetoric, abuses of power, and exploitation of vulnerable populations. What is the role of literacy research and education in the violence of the present? What forms might this literacy research and pedagogy take to ensure something beyond survival? In what ways might literacy research, policy, and practice intervene in the tumultuous present to create and sustain more inclusive schools, communities, and worlds?
In an effort to take up this question, the ARF 2021 conference theme acknowledges the power of literacy to intervene and transform the present while engendering new possibilities and directions for the future. The ARF 2021 conference theme challenges stakeholders to explore how literacy research, policy, and practice can work in both conspicuous and subversive ways to provide for more socially just, agentive futures. We invite and support complicated conversations on the role of literacy research, policy, and practice in creating and sustaining socially just communities and futures.
Conference proposals are due August 8. Graduate student proposals are due October 1.
Attendees can attend sessions from a wide range of sessions by literacy experts. Previous session topics have included: