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CAll for proposals and submission guidelines

30th Annual Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education (RECE) Conference
Justice for Young Children, Families, and Communities: An Ethical Imperative

Erikson Institute, Chicago Illinois USA
November 1-5, 2024

We invite proposals from early childhood researchers, scholars, teachers, pedagogues, teacher-educators, and activists for the 30th Annual RECE Conference to be held in-person and online at Erikson Institute, Chicago USA. 

Conference theme: “Justice for Young Children, Families and Communities: An Ethical Imperative

Call for Proposals

The dominant historical narrative of early childhood education, which purports that the field has 1800s “European roots,” ignores millennia of early care and education practices outside of institutional settings (preschools, kindergartens, etc.) in the community.  In Europe, it excludes marginalized groups and classes and, critically, the majority world in its entirety.  Black, Indigenous, and other communities of Color, are often situated outside this narrow history of the field. This power dynamic has consistently centered and advanced the interests of those holding power and defining norms in societies, subjugating and devaluing valuable practices and expertise — generation after generation.

In addition to the power dynamics in early childhood education—who counts as a professional, how quality is defined, and whose ways and systems of knowing are centered—we live in a world where the dehumanization and disposability of many lives has become routine. We are currently experiencing violent conflicts in several regions of the world where the lives and livelihoods of children and their families are under constant threat. It is this violation of young children, families, and communities that creates obligations for early childhood teachers, researchers, scholars, activists, and related professionals. This is the context framing the conference theme: “Justice for Young Children, Families and Communities: An Ethical Imperative.”

Justice requires both intention and action. With the understanding that justice is as justice does, how might we engage in (re)imagining more just futures for children, families, the workforce, and communities? That is, how might we extend ourselves, our practices, our research, and our policy work in the pursuit of justice? 

This year’s theme conveys the urgent need to identify and interrupt injustices and foster equity by thinking and working differently; focusing on putting things right and repairing the harm(s) caused with renewed attention on healing; reworking relationships with communities; and acknowledging our interconnected responsibility to identify the root cause of injustice.

Participants are invited to (re)think justice in the face of everyday injustices, historically rooted inequities, environmental and policy practices that reflect the long-lasting footprint of colonialism, and ongoing terrors experienced by children. And—while RECE has historically sought to address issues of justice and equity—given the current conditions under which many children, families and communities are living (often just barely), continuing and expanding upon this work is an ethical imperative.

  • For the 30th conference, we invite proposals that take up this ethical imperative that explicitly address the theme of the conference, as well as proposals that address other ongoing visions of RECE, including (but not limited to) those which:

    • are developed participatorily;
    • reconceptualize the intersectionality of individual, social, and environmental (planetary) justice;
    • employ principles of data justice;
    • value community wisdom and history;
    • adopt assets-based and justice-oriented approaches;
    • address conditions that construct barriers to opportunities and equitable access;
    • capture the interconnectedness of in/justice issues and/or systems of oppression;
    • challenge universal assumptions of children and childhoods;
    • expand on traditional notions of what research is or might be; and/or
    • cultivate opportunities and spaces where racialized and minoritized young children, families and communities experience joy, happiness, care, justice, and affirmation.

    Ultimately, we seek to develop a program filled with possibilities, as we hope to compile an entire constellation of possibilities to guide RECE—and the field—toward a more just future.

    Submission Guidelines

    Proposal Submission

    The deadline for submissions is 15 March, 2024. Proposals can only be submitted to the online portal beginning on January 30, 2024. Note: To facilitate the timely announcement of the conference program, there will be no deadline extension. Proposals will be reviewed by our international program committee and volunteer reviewers.

    Your name may appear on only one submission, in order to promote broad participation in the conference.

    Types of Sessions

    The 2024 RECE conference will include three types of sessions. All sessions can be presented in-person or on-line:

  • 1. Themed panel proposals combine several papers by a self-organized group of presenters under a common theme. The panel papers relate to each other and encourage connection across individual presentations. We recommend that 3 papers be part of panel proposals.

  • Because they afford dialogue among the individual papers in a session, panel proposals are especially welcome. A themed panel can be delivered in multiple manners and we encourage innovative ways of presenting and engaging with the session attendees.

  • 2. Individual papers. Individual papers will be programmed within sessions where authors present abbreviated versions of their papers for 20 minutes, followed by audience discussion. Each session will be scheduled for a 90-minute time slot, usually combining three individual papers.

  • In consideration of RECE’s purpose as a community of scholarship, individuals must be attentive to the time allocation for presenting their work so that all members of a session have time to share their work. If including more than one speaker for your individual paper submission, the continuity and cohesiveness of the overall presentation needs to be maintained and that presentation may only use its allocated (20-minute) presentation time. 

    3. Themed interactive workshop. RECE welcomes additional modes of presentation and scholarly engagement. This type of session would likely include a greater degree of attendee participation, interaction and involvement than the two session types above. A themed interactive workshop could potentially focus on areas of activism, pedagogies, and current issues in early childhood for which “stand and deliver presentations” are not as well suited. 

    This session will generally be scheduled for no more than 90-minutes. Please ensure that you bring to the session all needed materials for your workshop, as other material resources will not be available at the conference venue. It is also imperative that in planning for this session that time be allocated to returning the physical space to its original conferencing condition, including any rearrangement of furniture that may have been needed.

    Proposals must strictly adhere to the word count limitations and preferably utilize 1.5 line spacing. All proposals must be submitted as a Word document.

    Please include the following in your proposal:

    • Names, affiliations, addresses, and e‐mail addresses of all presenters
    • Brief title, capturing the primary focus, concern, or topic of the session
    • A one-line summary of the session
    • 3-5 keywords
    • Indication of session type (themed panel, individual paper or themed interactive workshop)
    • Indication of whether the session will be delivered in person or on-line. If on-line indicate your time zone.
    • Indication of provisions for involving audience participation, and format (PowerPoint, etc.)
    • Indicate if you want this proposal to be part of the Indigenous Caucus strand (which will be identifiably ‘Indigenous’ in the RECE conference proceedings with a silver fern)
    • Abstract for inclusion in the conference program (100 word maximum)
    • Brief description of session including the theoretical grounding of the session/paper, and its relevance to the theme and interests of the conference (500 words maximum without references)
    The description should include content related to and will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
    • Significance of the topic/concern within RECE’s foci on research, theory, practice, policy, advocacy and/or activism; how might the work affect change?
    • Reconceptualizing/Critical perspective(s) and/or theoretical framework
      • Broadly speaking: Reconceptualizing refers to work that challenges mainstream ideas regarding childhoods and learning; discusses new imaginaries in theory and practice. 
      • Critical perspective(s) refers to addressing privileged ways of knowing that create power for certain groups of people and oppress others.
    • Methods, techniques, or modes of inquiry described
    • Warrants for arguments/point of view (e.g., How does the presenter justify or substantiate their findings/key points?)
    • Innovative delivery (where applicable)

    You will be notified of the outcome of your proposal for presentations no later than April 20, 2024.

    Indication of whether “fast-track” reviewing is needed: Experience from prior conferences shows that participants from some countries may experience prolonged time getting visas to attend the conference in-person. To facilitate in-person attendance where possible, we will review proposals with anticipated visa difficulties as fast as possible. Please indicate if you think this is needed.

    Supporting Multiple Languages

    For RECE 2024, should you choose to do so, section eight (the 100-word abstract) can be written in both the presenter’s primary language and English. Accepted presenters will have both versions of their 100-word abstracts appear in the final online program.

    Due to the logistics of managing proposal reviews and program production, all other parts of the proposal must be written in English.

    Important Information

    If you have any questions about this call for proposals or the theme of the RECE conference, please contact the Program Chairs Sonya Gaches or Amy Clark.

    If you have any questions about visa related to invitation letters for presenters and attendees at the RECE conference, please contact Sonya Gaches.

    Interested in being a reviewer?

    If you are interested in being a proposal reviewer for the RECE 2024 conference, please email Sonya Gaches.  You will then receive a link to a questionnaire that will help guide the further reviewing process.  Please complete the questionnaire as soon as you receive it so that we can move quickly into proposal reviewing.  There is a very tight timeline to ensure acceptance notifications can be sent in a timely manner.