Fredrick Hess, former social studies teacher, asked on EducationNext this morning whether educational scholars are afflicted with a bias. He ponders that the movers and shakers of our nation’s schools may have an anti-conservative bent which leaves masses of the ruralvolk and their ilk cold, if not blocking them out of the conversation entirely.

This is what inclusion looks like. No, really. See how diverse?

He would like you to judge for yourself.


The College and University Faculty Assembly (CUFA), an Affiliated Group of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), invites proposals for its Annual Conference, which will be held on November 15-17, 2016, in San Francisco, CA. The theme of this year’s NCSS conference is Expanding Visions/Bridging Traditions. In the spirit of this year’s theme, the CUFA 2017 program will challenge presenters and attendees to (re)envision the future of social studies while also responding to the present conditions of the field. CUFA 2017 will look at what social studies can make possible in turbulent times when settler colonialism, systemic and systematic racism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, free speech and voter suppression, socioeconomic disparities, sexism, environmental destruction, and the corporatization of PK-12 and teacher education (to name a few) continue to threaten each and every one of us, both personally and professionally, in the United States and around the world. Social studies education must be(come) a driving force for social change.

As Program Chair, I challenge you to disrupt status quo discourses, practices, and methods in your paper and session proposals. I ask you to consider the following question: How does your research and/or teaching work to transform social studies education in our local, state, national, and global communities?

As you prepare your proposals, please consider the following areas of relevance for social studies in PK-12 and higher education settings:

Anti-Oppressive, Anti-Racist, and Critical Pedagogies
Subversive Social Studies Teaching Methods
Indigenous Studies
Gender Studies
LGBTQ+ Studies
Critical Race Studies
Critical Media Literacy
Environmental Justice
Economics Education
Geography Education
Global Education
Politics, Power, and Policy in Social Studies Education
Research Methodologies (Qualitative, Post-Qualitative, Quantitative, Mixed Methods)
Social Studies Advocacy and Outreach
Citizenship Education
History Education

This year’s program will include individual papers and roundtables, symposia, contemporary issue dialogues (CIDs), invited speakers, and CUFA/NCSS co-sponsored Research into Practice (RIP) sessions. I am also working closely with NCSS event staff to offer CUFA pre-conference workshops on the morning of Wednesday, November 15. CUFA 2017 will continue to also feature an unconference space and the Java Networks lunch.

I encourage colleagues preparing symposia and CID proposals to explicitly create space(s) that talk across theories, methodologies, and practices where everyone is seen, heard, and can contribute to new visions for social studies. I urge colleagues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives to submit their work. Accepted proposals will be linked to presentations through the open conference system. Authors will have the option of uploading their completed papers to replace the proposal after the program is finalized.

The submission deadline is 11:59 pm PST, Tuesday, February 28, 2017: No submissions will be accepted after that time and date.

For those of you on Twitter, please tweet about the conference using the official conference hashtag: #CUFA17. I will also post regular updates about the conference on CUFA’s Facebook groups.

If you have any questions about the call, proposal submission process, or reviewer sign-up process, please contact me at [email redacted]. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to the social studies education community.

In Solidarity,

Sarah B. Shear, Ph.D.
CUFA Program Chair, 2017 San Francisco
Assistant Professor, Social Studies Education, Penn State Altoona
Faculty, The Graduate School, The Pennsylvania State University

Mr. Hess made efforts to discuss this with his fellow educators and colleagues, and the response was, in part, to ask whether any possible bias was a “product of his imagination”.