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Pre-Conference Information

2020 NWSA Pre-Conference Call for Proposals

The 2020 NWSA conference theme, “The Poetics, Politics, and Praxis of Transnational Feminisms,” seeks to open up conversation about the evolution of transnational feminisms.  Rooted in the pioneering scholarship of Jacqui Alexander, Inderpal Grewal, Caren Kaplan, and Chandra Talpade Mohanty, among others, transnational feminism has been a subject of feminist study, theorizing, and discourse for decades. It has contributed immensely to decentering Western, especially US, scholarship and generated new forms of anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and decolonial feminist praxis and epistemologies that cross national boundaries. 

Each year, NWSA hosts multiple pre-conference sessions including the Program Administration and Development (PAD) Pre-Conference, the Women’s Centers Committee (WCC) Pre-Conference, and the Women of Color Leadership Project (WoCLP). For the past 2 years, NWSA has piloted teach-ins and institutes for NWSA attendees. NWSA is broadening the pre-conference session offerings for the 2020 NWSA Annual Conference.  Read more about pre-conference sessions. 

Please submit proposals to (NOTE: this is a different proposal submission process than the one used for the general conference). 

Pre-Conference Institutes

A Pre-Conference Institute provides conference attendees a chance to engage with concepts, materials, and other attendees in a half-day format. Organized around certain themes connected to the general conference theme, Pre-Conference Institutes take a deeper dive into pedagogical issues and questions of interest to a variety of NWSA members including scholars, activists, administrators.

Institute Proposal Guidelines:
• Title
• Description of the Institute
• Names and short bios (3 sentences) of facilitators
• Learning goals for participants
• Detailed agenda/syllabus
• Detailed Audiovisual Rationale (Not all requests can be granted)
• Requests for accommodations (if necessary)

Program Administration and Development (PA&D) Pre-Conference

The PA&D Pre-Conference organizers invite the submission of proposals for both workshops and panels on a broad range of topics related to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies program administration and development (individual papers will not be accepted for the PA&D Pre-Conference). The 2020 NWSA conference theme is “The Poetics, Politics, and Praxis of Transnational Feminisms.” We encourage submissions that engage with this theme, as well as those aimed at offering innovations in program administration and development. Sessions that encourage anti-racist and anti-imperialist approaches to programming, administration, and curriculum, are especially welcome. (PLEASE NOTE: Proposals that are not specifically related to program administration and development should be submitted to the general conference using the general conference login system. Proposals to be considered for PA&D’s “Sponsored Session” in the general conference program should also be submitted to the general conference submission portal.)

This year we are especially seeking proposals for workshops or interactive sessions with hands-on components that will run for 120 mins. The following are suggested workshop topics that emerged from the 2019 PA&D Business Meeting:
• Effective External Reviews: Training for External Reviewers
• When to Manage and How To Lead: Hiring and Evaluating Lecturers and Staff While Maintaining an Inclusive Community
• The Shifting Nature of Assessment
• Negotiations 101: Personal, Professional, and Programmatic

In addition to workshops, we anticipate running a number of diverse panels during the Pre-Conference. These panels should attend to inclusivity and equity in representation of individuals, ranks, programs, and institutions. The following are suggested panel topics that emerged from the 2019 PA&D Business Meeting: 
• Anti-Academic Analytics
• What to do when WGSS Isn’t Your Discipline: Mentoring, Teaching, and Program Integrity  
• Naming and renaming units: “Women”? “Gender”? “Sexuality”? “Feminist”? “Queer”?
• Self-Care for WGSS Directors and Faculty: Creating Networks
• Supporting Junior Faculty
• Navigating the Academy as Associate Professor

Topics that are perennially popular, but we still need individuals to propose and organize them:
• Advice for New Chairs and Directors 
• To Merge or Not to Merge: WGS Department Consolidations
• Succession Planning – Finding and Mentoring New Leaders/WGS Directors
• Supporting Faculty of Color at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs)
• Interrogating Whiteness and White Privilege in our Programs
• Making Invisible Service Visible

All proposals must be submitted to  Deadline: March 30, 2020.
Please note that this is different from the general conference system. All submissions will be anonymized by NWSA Staff before sending out for review.

Please include the following in your proposal submissions:
Panel Proposals
• Panel Title
• Panel Rationale (100-250 words)
• Individual papers from 3-4 potential presenters including,
o Individual Paper Titles
o Individual Abstracts (50-100 words each)
• Name of 1 moderator
• Detailed Audiovisual Rationale 
o To request LCD projector, please add the information here. Not all requests can be granted.
• Requests for accommodations (if necessary)

Workshop Proposals
• Title
• Abstract (50-100 words)
• Rationale (100-250 words)
• Names of roundtable or workshop participants
• Name of 1 moderator
• Detailed Audiovisual Rationale (not all requests can be granted)
• Requests for accommodations (if necessary)

Please contact PA&D Co-Chairs Jenn Brandt ( and Diane Price-Herndl ( with any questions.

Women’s Centers Committee (WCC) Pre-Conference

The NWSA’s Women’s Centers Committee (WCC) advances the vital role that women’s and gender equity centers play in the field of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies (WGSS). Women’s and gender equity centers support the scholarship and best practices of both the centers themselves, and of academic programs—developing research, documenting resources, building network alliances, serving as support and advocacy centers addressing equity and inclusion, and designing projects that support feminist theory and practice. 

The expressed need of the Women’s Centers Committee (WCC) to have more flexibility with regard to the pre-conference format has been a topic of conversation between WCC leadership and NWSA leadership for several years. Based on discussions spearheaded by the outgoing WCC Co-Chairs and NWSA leadership, we are delighted to announce that we have support to pilot a more “un-conference” feel this next year. The format of the WCC pre-conference in 2020 will reflect more flexibility and have space for both traditional break-out sessions and elements of the Summit, such as large group workshops and less structured conversations on topics of pressing importance. An additional component of a more flexible pre-conference is extending the submission due-date for pre-conference proposals, as a later date provides additional time to select topics of immediate relevance to the community and ensures that a greater diversity of WCC content is present in both the pre-conference and the main conference. We are still currently having conversations regarding the timeline for WCC pre-conference planning and will release when we will begin accepting proposal submissions as well as the deadline as soon as we have this information. Recognizing the value of WCC contribution to the field of Women’s and Gender Studies, we strongly encourage Center professionals to continue to propose sessions for the general conference. The NWSA General Conference will begin accepting session proposals February 1, 2020.

Women of Color Leadership Project (WoCLP)

The Women of Color Leadership Project (WoCLP) is committed to increasing the number of students, staff, and faculty members of color working within the field of women’s studies, related disciplines, and interdisciplinary fields; working at women’s centers; and assuming positions of power and leadership in NWSA, including the Program Administration and Development Committee (PAD) and Women’s Centers Committee (WCC).  

The WoCLP is also designed to support women of color in their professional goals and leadership development. Women of color in women’s studies, ethnic studies, or related fields may apply if they aspire to leadership within women’s studies or NWSA.  Applicants may include advanced graduate students, faculty, and current program administrators who wish to be more involved in program or NWSA leadership.