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Announcement :: Politics
Renewing the Anarchist Tradition 4
21 May 2004
Renewing the Anarchist Tradition:
A Scholarly Conference
September 24-26, 2004
Plainfield, Vermont

Call for Proposals and Logistical Details

The Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) conference, cosponsored by the Institute for Anarchist Studies and Institute for Social Ecology, aims to provide a scholarly space in which to both reexamine and reinvigorate the social and political tradition of anarchism.
Renewing the Anarchist Tradition:
A Scholarly Conference
September 24-26, 2004
Plainfield, Vermont

Call for Proposals and Logistical Details

The Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) conference, cosponsored by the Institute for Anarchist Studies and Institute for Social Ecology, aims to provide a scholarly space in which to both reexamine and reinvigorate the social and political tradition of anarchism.
RAT is meant as one contribution to the project of developing a more rigorous as well as contemporary theoretical framework for anarchism, and to assist in nurturing new generations of anti-authoritarian public intellectuals. Thus, as opposed to conferences that attempt to create anarchist organizations, statements of purpose, or focus on “lifestyle anarchism” or how-to workshops, RAT brings together anarchist and libertarian socialist scholars, activists, educators, writers, organizers, and students to explore how we make sense of our own tradition; how we understand anarchism in the context of our lives, movements, and present-day social conditions; and how the conceptual tools that the anarchist tradition provides can and need to be rethought.
Anarchism has tended to be a dynamic theory and practice, and its influence in anti-capitalist struggles around the world has become keenly apparent of late. We are, as it were, inside history, and if anarchism is to continue to be relevant to this moment of global transformations, it must not only understand the present but also scrutinize its own internal taboos and tensions; it must not only be able to describe contemporary forms of hierarchy and oppression but also articulate openings for a radical reshaping of social relations and material conditions along ethical lines. The work that all of us attempt to do now, the ideas and values we struggle to put into words and practice, will have profound implications for how this historical moment structures the future. RAT is a modest addition to the grand anarchist project of the present to ensure a freer tomorrow for all.
As in the past, we hope that RAT continues to raise difficult questions-questions ranging from the character of social change to the ongoing relevance of categories such as class, community, and labor; from the changing shape of the state and capital to emergent forms of both domination and resistance in a globalizing world; from anarchism’s relation to geopolitical concerns such as terrorism and war to its ability to grapple with issues of identity such as race, gender, and sexuality; to a host of other controversial, contested, or even uncharted subjects.
Alongside a participatory weekend of presentations, panels, and debates in a supportive atmosphere, the beautiful rural Vermont setting also affords the opportunity to meet other anarchists and radicals, relax around a campfire, or enjoy the fall foliage. RAT will also include a mini-bookfair, free literature tables, and possible film screenings.
Call for Presentation and Panel Proposals: Due July 15, 2004
We are now accepting proposals for individual presentations and panels/panelists. People of color, women, those outside academia, and others often excluded from scholarly life-due to gender, sexuality, class, and so forth-are especially encouraged to send in proposals.
We’re looking for individual presentations that attempt to analyze and/or critique current social relations and dilemmas; share work and ideas on anarchism’s relevance and potental as a political/social theory as well as a practice; grapple with and constructively challenge/build on standard anarchist notions in light of a radically changing world; and cover a wide variety of perspectives and scholarly disciplines.
While you can also propose a full panel, including all panelists, please consider simply proposing yourself for a panel topic or two and we will put the panel together based on a diversity of viewpoints. Specifically, we would like to see panelist proposals for the following topics: globalization; role of anarchists in international solidarity work; changing character of statism/antistatism, capitalism/anti-capitalism, or class/labor today; movement building and anarchism’s relation to other social movements; anarchism and marxism, anarchism and poststructuralism, anarchism and identity (in particular, race, gender, and sexuality); anarchism and ecology; anarchist responses to contemporary concerns such as terrorism and the “war on terrorism,” new legal regimes and policing, war, rise of fundamentalism and nationalism, or the U.S. presidential elections; and anarchism and its relation to its own history. Please feel free to propose other ideas, of course.
Individual presentation and panel proposals should be no more than one typed page each; remember, you can also propose yourself as a panelist and let us set up the panel itself. Please include a presentation or panel title and brief description, a few sentences about yourself and/or other proposed panelists, and complete contact information (address, phone, and e-mail). Indicate if you feel comfortable having your presentation/panel audiotaped, and if so, if you would be amendable to post-conference “publication” of such audio on a Web site or CD. Keep in mind that presenters are asked to limit individual presentations to about 30 to 40 minutes, and end by framing a question or two for the participants in order to facilitate another 30 to 40 minutes of discussion. Panelists should each prepare about 10 to 15 minutes of material, leaving time for discussion as well. Our intent with the panels is to stimulate lively, but friendly debate, so again, a variety of perspectives on each panel is encouraged.
Proposals are due by July 15, 2004, and should be e-mailed to both co-organizers:
John Petrovato at jpetrovato (at) , and Cindy Milstein at cbmilstein (at) .
We will inform you about the outcome of your proposal(s) by August 1. Please note: all presenters must also register and pay for the conference, and space is limited, so don’t delay.
This year’s RAT will take place on the Goddard College campus in Plainfield, Vermont, about 8 miles east of Vermont’s capital, Montpelier. We will also utilize the nearby Institute for Social Ecology’s facilities for camping (weather depending) and socializing.
Tentative Schedule
RAT will get underway mid-afternoon on Friday, September 24, followed by dinner and then an opening panel at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 25, will be filled with multiple, simultaneous presentations and panels throughout the day. Presentations and panels continue until 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 26, when we close the doors on another RAT conference. Descriptions of presentations and panels TBA (if you would like to be added to our occasional e-announcement list, please send us your e-mail address for updates).
A number of bookstores and publishers, such as Raven Used Books and AK Press, will be present at RAT as part of this year’s mini-bookfair. Tables are available for bookstores, publishers, and infoshops throughout the weekend for $35, but you must reserve and pay for a table in advance. Tables will also be available at no charge for free literature.
Plainfield is accessible by car. From the South or North, take I-89 to the Montpelier (Vermont) exit, then take Route 2 East to Plainfield. Goddard College is on your left just before you enter Plainfield Village. Park in the first lot on your right and follow the signs to RAT.
Both Amtrak and Greyhound/Vermont Transit offer train and bus service, respectively, to Montpelier. Limited pick-ups and drop-offs will be available, or you can call a taxi during the daytime hours. Please check with us about your travel arrangements before assuming that a pick-up or drop-off is possible.
There is an airport in Burlington, Vermont, about an hour’s drive from Plainfield. We will, however, be unable to do any airport pick-ups or drop-offs. If you fly to Burlington, please arrange your own ground transportation (limited bus service to Montpelier or rental cars).
You must register and pay in advance, as conference space is limited.
· Sliding-scale registration fee: $20 to $40 (for those who can afford it, the higher registration fee will go toward our “scholarship” fund to assistance others; see below).
· Optional:
· Meals: $48 covers two breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners, with a variety of vegetarian and vegan options prepared by the New England Culinary Institute. Food or meals can also be purchased in Plainfield; there are three restaurants, a small food cooperative, and a convenience store.
· Housing: $30 per night/per person for a single, $23 per night/per person for a shared double, and $15 per night/per person for a shared triple (dorms rooms are at Goddard College, and include towels and linens; there are a limited number of single and triple rooms). Camping, weather permitting, is also available on the nearby Institute for Social Ecology’s campus for $10 night per one- or two-person tent (bring your own camping equipment and supplies). There are small motels and B&Bs in the area as well.
A limited number of partial scholarships are available to subsidize RAT conference fees for those with limited resources. Please inquiry early and we will do our best to offer assistance. These scholarships are made possible because of the generosity of other RAT participants. If you can afford to pay the higher-end of our sliding-scale registration fee, or want to donate more beyond that, we will pass along the extra funds to those needing financial aid to attend RAT.
Register and Pay in Advance
Space is again limited for RAT-though this year, RAT is limited to about 200 people instead of our usual 100 or so. Thus, please register and pay in advance to ensure your participation. Send a check, made out to Cindy Milstein (unofficial RAT treasurer), to: Cindy Milstein, 19 French Street, Barre, Vermont 05641. Include your name, address, phone, e-mail, and an itemization of what the check covers (registration, meals, housing, donation beyond registration toward scholarships for others, and/or a mini-bookfair table).
Feel free to contact either of the co-organizers, John Petrovato (jpetrovato (at) ) or Cindy Milstein (cbmilstein (at)

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