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DEADLINE EXTENSION: You have until 31 January 2016 to submit a proposal. 

Re-energizing Communities: Building Worker Solidarity and Social Justice

University of Calgary
June 1-2, 2016
As part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

The conference organizing committee invites submissions for participation in the 3rd annual conference of the Canadian Association of Work and Labour Studies (CAWLS). The committee welcomes proposals for single papers, multiple paper panels, roundtables and/or workshops. The participation of researchers in union and community settings is encouraged.

The Congress theme, “Energizing Communities” seeks to engage our collective interest in how communities are organized, how they respond to social change and how we build alliances with like-minded groups. In both the developed and developing worlds, “energizing communities” includes examining workers in the commodity sectors, the role of the environment within the class struggle, and how labour builds alliances with other groups, including Indigenous communities.

Some of the questions that will be tackled during the conference include:

  • How do workers engage with environmental and Indigenous communities?
  • How have workers and labour movements aligned with local, national and international social justice movements?
  • What are the dynamics and consequences of accelerating resource extraction, in both the global north and the global south, for workers and their communities?
  • How have national and international trends weakened the working class in their communities?
  • What work needs to be done to re-energize working-class communities? What are the challenges to be overcome? What is the path forward?

Potential paper and panels topics linked to our main theme include:

  • The growth of the resource sectors in both the developed and developing worlds
  • New alliances between workers and Indigenous communities
  • Labour-environmental justice alliances
  • Living wage research and campaigns
  • The erosion of worker freedoms in the period of neoliberalism
  • The gendered and racialized nature of neoliberalism and the means for building inclusive working-class community and struggle
  • Migration, immigration and labour solidarity in Canada and across borders

Participants are not required to limit themselves to the above list. We welcome proposals on all topics that highlight the past, present and future of work and labour studies. Our goal is to create a final conference programme reflective of the broadest range of methodological, theoretical, and disciplinary approaches.

New Voices in Work and Labour Studies: New scholars (graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty/researchers in the first five years of their appointment) are encouraged to indicate their status on their proposal in order to be considered for the New Voices in Work and Labour Studies Prize (see below).

Conference Fees

Permanent or full-time faculty or researchersUnion and community membersStudents, the un(der)employed, and retirees
CAWLS members$50$25Free


  • An additional Congress registration fee will also apply
  • Accepted presenters must be CAWLS members in good standing by April 30, 2016.

Conference Support: Some financial support will be available for travel and accommodation, depending on need and availability of funds, with priority given to graduate student participants. Contributors requesting financial assistance should indicate this when submitting an abstract.

Submission requirements: Send electronic copies of 250-word paper or panel proposals to the conference organizing committee c/o Dr. Charles Smith, Conference Chair, Department of Political Studies, St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan. Submissions can be sent to [email protected].

All panel and section proposals are due by December 1, 2015

NEW DEADLINE: All paper proposals are due by January 31, 2016

For more information go to


CAWLS Prizes


The Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies (CAWLS) is pleased to announce the awards which will be presented at our annual conference in June 2016.


CAWLS Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Scholarship

This prize recognizes outstanding scholarship completed by an undergraduate student on work and social change (precise emphasis, academic discipline, cultural context, and time period are open). An electronic copy of the assignment should be sent by the professor or the student to [email protected] by May 1st, 2016, along with a concise explanation of any information deemed pertinent (e.g. the assignment instructions). Formal essays and more unconventional assignments are welcome. The student does not need to be a member of CAWLS in order to be eligible.


New Voices in Labour Studies – Best Paper Prize

This award is given to the author of the best paper presented by a new scholar (graduate student, post-doctoral fellow, or faculty/researcher in the first five years of their appointment) at the CAWLS annual conference in 2016. To be considered for the award, electronic copies of the paper should be sent to [email protected] by May 1st, 2016.


CAWLS Book Prize

This award honours the best book in Canadian work and labour studies published in 2015. Nominations should be sent to [email protected] by May 1st, 2016. This award is for either authored books or edited collections.

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