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Call for Proposals
2018 Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies Annual Conference

Diversity in struggle: Fighting for equity in the workplace and the labour movement

University of Regina
May 30 – June 1, 2018
As part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

The conference organizing committee invites submissions for participation in the 5th annual conference of the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies (CAWLS). The committee welcomes proposals for single papers, thematic streams, multiple paper panels, roundtables, and workshops. The participation of researchers in union and community settings is encouraged.

The Congress theme, “Gathering Diversities”, seeks to reflect on the importance of diversity as a key component of strong communities, and on the importance of gathering places where such diversity can thrive. Building on this theme, CAWLS 2018 aims to promote discussions of the issue of diversity and in/equality in workplaces, labour and social movements, and within labour studies itself, both within and beyond Canada. This raises a wide range of interdisciplinary themes, including the dynamics and implications of inclusion/exclusion, the role of institutions, the politics of labour, and strategies for improving and transforming work in ways that promote equity.

We invite proposals that tackle any of the following questions:

  • Who has counted as a ‘worker’ historically, and who counts now? How have racialization, gender, sexuality, class, age, and ability shaped the politics of labour in Canada and elsewhere, and what are their implications for the future of the labour movement?
  • What is the relationship between the labour movement and Indigenous communities and how might connections be strengthened?
  • How do workers and unions engage with environmental movements and issues? What are the links to the struggles for occupational and community health and safety protection and regulation and against environmental racism? What are the future prospects for labour-environmental justice alliances, and how can they embrace diversity? What are the implications of de-growth politics for labour?
  • The labour movement was at the forefront of many victories related to equity and human rights, including the establishment of human rights codes, pay and employment equity legislation, and same-sex rights to name a few. What have been the strengths and weaknesses of these policy approaches? Who has benefitted and who has been left out of legislative solutions? How do, or should, legislative solutions to equity issue intersect with other actions to advance equity?
  • Has the focus on precarity as a central feature of today’s labour market meant greater or less attention to patterns of inequality amongst workers? What are the implications for analyses of social reproduction and the distribution of paid and unpaid work?
  • How are labour movements and other workers’ organizations dealing with the issues of immigration, migration, and work? Are these responses more inclusive and solidaristic than in the past? Has it changed the way labour internationalism is practiced and theorized?
  • How does intersectional analysis inform the study of work and of labour movements? How is it informing the contemporary labour movement in ways that build more inclusive working-class communities, organizations, and struggles?
  • What does an anti-racist and decolonized labour studies look like?

Participants are not required to limit themselves to the above list. We welcome proposals on all topics that highlight importance of diversity to the past, present, and future of work and labour studies within Canada and beyond. 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.

Conference Fees

Permanent or full-time faculty or researchersUnion and community membersStudents, the un(der)employed, and retirees
CAWLS members$75$50$10
Awards Dinner$35$35$35


  • An additional Congress registration fee will also apply.
  • Accepted presenters must be CAWLS members in good standing by April 30, 2018.

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: Proposals should include a 250-word abstract for each panel/paper and a short bio for each presenter. Please email proposals to the conference organizing committee c/o [email protected].

To facilitate new conversations, we encourage people interested in organizing panels, streams, roundtables and workshops to submit a CFP for inclusion in the CAWLS newsletter by December 15, 2017.

All paper proposals are due by January 31, 2018.

For more information go to

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