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CFP, Space Between Society Annual Conference: Labor and the Space Between

June 2-4, 2022: Labor in the Space Between, Case Western Reserve University

Hosted by the Space Between Society and the Medical Humanities Program at Case Western Reserve University, the 2022 Labor in the Space Between meeting will be held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Our conference encourages prospective applicants to critically examine labor practices between 1914 and 1945 and the ways these practices have shaped our constructions of society, the body, and the self. While economics and the social sciences have been the privileged disciplinary frameworks for thinking about labor, this conference invites scholars working in the various humanities to imagine what our diverse disciplines have to contribute to contemporary critical thinking about labor. Some questions we hope to examine include:

How does cultural production between 1914 and 1945 reflect cultural attitudes toward art and labor?
How were cultural movements like Futurism, Modernism and the new Documentary affected by and engaging with labor movements?
How do race, gender, class, disability, and national, ethnic and religious identities intersect with labor and its representations?
What are the tensions between representations and constructions of labor and the actual performance of labor?
What can labor activism’s past tell us about casualization and union-busting in our own era?
How can the intersectionality of the various fields of the humanities serve to enhance our understandings of and relationships to work and labor?

Cleveland, a major center of industrialization, has been a city defined by labor, and allows us to think of many of the intersections of labor and culture between 1914 and 1945. It is a city where Russian Jews fled to from the pogroms of the early 20th century and where Black Americans escaping harsh, Southern segregationist laws and racism sought new opportunities during the Great Migration. It is a city whose universities and hospitals were instrumental in medical and nursing advances in both the First and Second World Wars, and whose manufacturing industries profited hugely from WWII. It is a city that has always opened its arms to refugees, including 995 Afghans who have recently arrived to build new lives. Cleveland is but one illustration of how labor markets were disrupted in myriad ways between 1914 and 1945. These shifts and disruptions resulted in social and cultural upheavals that were addressed by writers, artists, journalists, and other individuals in a range of forms of cultural production.

Themes this conference will explore include Labor and

Medicine: disability, reproductive, war and medicine, war nursing
War: military production, resistance, collaboration, propaganda, killing, memorialization
Enslavement, indentured servitude, camps, forced, prison, concentration camps, ghettos, and gulags
Communism, and its representation
Postwar planning and rebuilding
Foodways: culinary production, agriculture
Technology: mass production versus individualism
Creativity: literature, cinema, fashion, the arts, academic production
Hierarchies: service versus creative/research/generative
Domesticity: household economies, servants, gendered spheres
Working class art and literature
Invisibility: Hidden, silent, undocumented, emotional, and affective

Please note that, as of now, plans are for an in-person meeting. Case Western Reserve University requires meeting attendees to follow university COVID-19 protocols including masking and providing proof of vaccination.

Please submit a 300-word abstract and a 100-word bio to Ravenel Richardson at by December 15, 2021.

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