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2022 Theme Statement:

We are living through a profound historical moment. The COVID-19 pandemic has generated new social problems and new understandings of the self and our place in society. The pandemic also represents an acceleration and exacerbation of long-standing inequalities, including gender inequality, discrimination against LGBTQIA+ individuals and groups, racial and ethnic discrimination, the rich/poor gap, ableism, and unequal access to health care. Focusing on time, history, and social change, this conference -- its topics and plenary sessions -- will allow us to see both the ruptures and continuities of pandemic and post-pandemic life, and it will hopefully point to what is worth saving and how to save it. 

Potential topics may include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Before and after the pandemic – the pandemic as a historical and temporal rupture
  • Before and after the “great contraction” – the crisis facing higher education and the role of neoliberalism and pandemic planning in American colleges and universities
  • Before and after the murder of George Floyd – Black Lives Matter, the ongoing fight for racial and social justice, its future, and its historical antecedents
  • Before and after the twenty-first century family – how the pandemic upended the work/family boundaries and contributed to the unique burdens shouldered by women
  • Before and after Trump – pandemic policies, the politicization of public health, and the realignment and/or retrenchment of party politics
  • Before and after Zoom – how new technologies have reshaped social interaction, and the conditions under which new technological practices challenge or reinforce social inequalities
  • Before and after the climate turning point – the ongoing fight for climate justice, the future of the planet, and repairing environmental harms.
  • Then and now – changing understandings of gender, sexualities, bodies, abilities, and disabilities
  • Beyond “before and after” – moving beyond binaries; challenging binaries in our language, identities, and interactions


The submission portal will open on or about September 8, 2021. The submission deadline is November 16, 2021.

We will follow CDC recommendations when we meet.

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

Brian Donovan, 2022 Program Chair and MSS President-Elect
Elyse Neumann, 2022 Student Director

Artist's Statement:

Paul Punzo is a visual artist who works with linoleum block carvings, watercolors, silkscreen, spray paint, and india inks, creating one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Paul has shown work in galleries throughout Kansas, including Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City, and Wichita, and has sold to collectors throughout the United States. The idea behind this image was to create a dialogue of issues, actions, and the collective human society, or simply “we.” Postcards are available on his Etsy shop @elgatoprinting and you can follow him on Instagram @elgatoprinting as well.