Storming the Heavens: Worker Education and Social Activism Conference 2007

Starting Date: 03-30-2007
Ending Date: 03-31-2007

Brooklyn College
New York, New York 10013
United States
We welcome proposals for papers*, presentations and panels exploring the history, politics and contemporary significance of Worker Education in the U.S. and abroad. Teachers, staff and students in worker education programs are encouraged to contribute to the discourse on worker education in presentations that reflect on their own experiences in such programs and on the impact on their lives. Trade unionists are especially encouraged to attend and/or participate. A crucial area of inquiry in this conference is how class, race and gender intersect in working class experience generally and in worker education in particular.

Twenty-five years ago, the first program at the City University of New York designed specifically for working people, the Center for Worker Education, was inaugurated at the CityCollege, and then BrooklynCollege established the GraduateCenter for Worker Education. The City University of New York has historically been the so-called “Harvard of the Proletariat.” These programs, however, were the first at the nation’s largest urban university designed to meet the needs of workers and to embrace their concerns and aspirations.

This conference commemorates the creation of the CUNY Centers for Worker Education, an attempt to put a small but important part of a major public institution at the service of the labor movement and the workers it serves.

Suggested topics include:

Worker Education models in contemporary society: case studies
Theoretical models for worker education: from Cobbett to Gramsci to Freire
The attack on labor education centers
International perspectives on worker education
Local & regional perspectives on worker education: case studies

* The politics of worker education Programs: case studies in how unions, universities or government agencies, and corporations can affect the aims and content of worker programs
* The sociology of worker education programs: who are the students, teachers and staff; how does each group perceive its experience and the value of its education; what are the outcomes in terms of labor activism, political engagement, personal goals?
* Worker centers and worker councils: case studies in labor/community institutions
* Worker education and class consciousness
* Practice and pedagogy: how do workers learn, what do they learn, how do their teachers and mentors interact with them?
* Historical perspectives on worker education: for example, the Worker Education Association, the Bourses du Travail, Brookwood Labor College, the Highlander Folk School, the Bryn Mawr School for Women Workers, the Wisconsin School for Workers, the Rand School, the Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln Schools, the Communist University of the Toilers of the East, and the George Meany Center/Ntional Labor College-AFL-CIO
Geographical Scope: State

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