Call for Papers

Call for Papers

This PRISM themed issue offers an opportunity to reflect on, develop and critique ideas and experiences in relation to being a working class academic. This Call for Papers (CfP) has grown out of the wide-spread interest and response to the Working-Class Academics Conference.  The conference remit both recognises and celebrates working class people who have navigated – or are currently navigating – socio-economic obstacles, to break through the cloistered and privileged boundaries of Higher Education and the University.    

We welcome submissions by delegates and presenters from the conference, as well as submissions from academics and practitioners beyond any involvement with the conference. This CfP will be of relevance to those who have confronted or are attempting to navigate the various obstacles associated with academia as working class academics, students, or other practitioners. Our goal is to provide a space for working class academics to write, be published and continue to spark reflection and contributions from others in the sector. 

This themed issue purposefully adopts a playful reference to the term ‘constellation’ from Walter Benjamin’s (1998) work The Origin of German Tragic Drama. As such, it is not necessarily the aim or the remit of submissions to this themed issue to schematically interrogate and establish quantified categories and/or definitions of ‘working class’ academics. The editorial team feel that such an epistemo-rigid approach would only lead to further and inevitable obfuscations and exclusions. Rather, this issue is about opening an ontologic space to build “working-class knowledges” (Walkerdine, 2020) comprised of stories, heritages, narratives and conversations of journeys towards the strange and often mysterious land of academia, with its talismanic qualifications, middle class cultures, and academic identities.

This themed issue is about creating an opportunity to give voice to those who have journeyed (or are attempting to journey) beyond the socio-economic constraints of being structurally ascribed a life of a non-academic expectation. Of working class cultural rupture and ‘fragmentation’ in pursuit of personal growth; of inhabiting socio-cultural ‘otherness’ and the alien terrain of the university, with its implied requirements to metamorphose to a middle class facsimile – replete with renewed accent.

The themed issue aims to acknowledge and promote a different academic space, one where constellations of academics, students and researchers with a working class heritage, can come together to conceptualise and capture the difficulties – and successes – of accessing and finding acceptance in the culture of higher education and the university.

As such, we would like submissions to this themed issue to be about celebrating and promoting experiences and opportunities, as well generating a necessary – and hopefully catalytic – visibility of these underrepresented socio-economic areas and identities. We hope that it will produce, cascade and disseminate powerful and eclectic voices of uncompromised hope and possibility; through accented, diverse and unapologetic stories, we hope to assertively claim justified recognition. Adapting Graeme Gilloch’s (2002) take on the Benjaminian constellation: from the diverse elements of our working class heritages, the submissions will constitute ‘critical contemporary constellations’ (Gilloch, 2002, p. 4), and establish an illumination of present and future possibilities.

Themes

These thematic areas provide some guidance around the types of submission received at the conference and which help to expand the ideas, thoughts and experiences that enrich what we mean by ‘working class academics’.   The themes are not exhaustive, you can take another direction and we welcome your divergence, transgression and meanders across our under-represented experiences of the sector.

  • Art, Activism and Class
  • Intersectionality
  • Class as an influence on pedagogy
  • Pedagogies of the working class
  • Autobiographical journeys beyond the divide
  • Critical economics
  • The University as a class barrier
  • Environmentalism and the working class
  • “Must we leave to achieve?”: Education, social mobility and the resituating of the working class
  • The rectification and commodification of the working class
  • Performance, the Academy and working class
  • A digital planet – barrier of enabler for working class engagement
  • Being a working class student
  • ‘Housework, children, jobs and cooking’: working class women on/in academia
  • Class and migration
  • Faith and class
  • Imposter Syndrome and Jonah Complex: the challenges of coming to terms with being working class academics

References

Gilloch, G. (2002) Walter Benjamin: Critical Constellations. Cambridge: Polity Press

Walkerdine, V. (2020) What’s Class Got To Do With It?, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2020.1767939