Call for Proposals

Social Justice, Arts, and Propaganda

In more than 30 southern and northern cities across American, confederate monuments, flags, and iconography have been removed from public parks, capital buildings, state universities and other locations. Municipal and state governments and universities continue to revisit policies and practices related to social policies and lifestyle practices related to local culture, art, and tourism. New Orleans has made national news three times for monuments removal and has remained at the heart of discussions addressing this controversy to re-define aesthetic and cultural heritage related to its citizens. Erected after the Civil War and other events throughout Reconstruction, Post-Reconstruction, and even as late as early 20th Century, these ornate symbols support segregation and opposition to Civil Rights for African Americans and other peoples of color and ethnicity.

Social justice, social inclusion, and how art re-enforces, challenges, and preserves culture and aesthetics have been topics for inquiry for centuries and can be observed in songs with melodic structures such as “Dixie,” “Ole Man River,” and “My Old Kentucky Home.” Other songs like “Amazing Grace” and “Americans in Paris” represents the fusion of American and European cultures while Jazz continues to be identified with American heritage. President John F. Kennedy stated “We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.

Merriam-Webster defines propaganda as “the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person” and as “ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause.” How can these things be reconciled?

Art has been intimately connected to issues of social justice for a long time. Artists are challenged and censored when they use their art to address issues affecting people from all walks of life. The following represents some questions raised by the conference theme. 

  • What is the difference, if any, between art and propaganda?
  • How do artists address issues of social justice in their artwork?
  • Is all politically, conscious art, propaganda?
  • When is public art, propaganda?

On February 24, 2019, Kurdish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan was released from prison after two years and nine months for creating a digital painting of a predominantly Kurdish city destroyed by Turkish military forces. What happens when Cuban Artist Erik Ravelo uses art to address issues surrounding pedophilia, sexual child abuse, gun violence, war, obesity, and black market trafficking in human organs and how these issues affect children? What happens when a public work of art is a critique of a fossil fuel industry that also funds university programs as happened at the University of Wyoming with Carbon Sink by Chris Drury? These are three examples of art connecting with life and controversy during the last decade.

Proposals addressing any topics surrounding the theme of Social Justice, Art, and Propaganda are welcome. Social Theory, Politics and the Arts is an interdisciplinary gathering of researchers, policy makers, practitioners and students that explores key trends, practices, and policy issues affecting the arts around the world. Proposals are also welcome that address topics beyond the theme concerning art, artists, and managers in multiple disciplines including arts management, arts education, art history, museum studies, cultural studies, policy studies, political science, sociology, economics, law, and many others.

Submissions will be accepted from March 18, 2019- April 26, 2019.

Proposals will be accepted for papers, panels, workshops, performance-based research, and roundtable discussions.

The 44th Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts Conference will be hosted at the School of the Arts of the University of New Orleans October 10-12, 2019.

Paper Proposal

(A 15-minute presentation in a session with other paper presenters.)

Paper proposals may take one of two forms: research or scholarly papers.

Research (or data-driven) papers present the results of quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods studies or report the findings of studies that use historical or philosophical methods. These studies are based on original data collection or secondary data analysis.

Research paper proposals should describe studies that are fairly mature both conceptually and methodologically, ideally with some preliminary data analysis and findings that are suggestive of the impact and significance of the research. The final paper should be a complete discussion of finalized data analysis and findings.

Scholarly (or non-data-driven) papers are essays that present well-developed arguments on philosophical, theoretical, or practical problems in the study of the arts. They are not required to adhere to an empirical research design (e.g., methods, data collection, and data analysis). Rather, scholarly papers pose critical questions, synthesize divergent bodies of literature, or elaborate new theoretical or conceptual frameworks.

Final papers may be submitted to the Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society for consideration in the special STP&A issue.

Panel Proposal

(A 45-minute panel which consists of 3-4 panelists in a singular session.)

In a panel, the session organizers are proposing a complete session that consists of three to four research or scholarly papers that address a particular topic.

Workshop Proposal

(A 60-minute or 120-minute session that offers hands-on activities for the participants.)

A workshop is a hands-on session that features interaction between and among the presenter(s) and the audience to advance knowledge of a particular issue or research problem.

Workshops should be designed to be 60 minutes in length. However, you may include a Part I and Part II if you wish to have a 2-hour workshop (with a break between the two).

Performance-Based Research Proposal

(Research presented through performance.)

Performance-based research projects may take the form of art, music, dance, spoken word, or theatrical performance. Proposals should describe how they relate to the conference theme or any of the other appropriate topics.

Roundtable Discussion

(Lead a 45-minute discussion based on a topic.)

Roundtables provide an opportunity for scholars to share information regarding their research in an informal, conversational format with interested persons. Accepted proposals will be assigned to a numbered table in a large meeting room. Roundtable chair will facilitate participation, but there will be no formal presentations. Given the informal structure of the roundtable, no audiovisual equipment will be provided.