Document Icon

Call for Proposals:

The terrain of education has shifted decisively across North America since the mid-1990s. Neo-liberal education policies, with their emphasis on outcomes assessment, standardized testing and student behaviour have emphasized narrower models of student learning, curriculum and child development. At the same time, the goal-oriented values and practices of the marketplace have nudged aside visions of education as a creative process of exploring, questioning and experimentation. The landscapes of learning, in other words, have become increasingly unidimensional, challenging efforts by many practitioners and researchers to think about broader questions regarding the purpose, function and practice of education in contemporary society and its constituent communities.

This conference, organized by the Contemporary Studies program at Wilfrid Laurier-Brantford, in association with the Faculties of Education at Wilfrid Laurier-Waterloo and Nipissing University (Brantford Campus) aims to restore those broader discussions. It will do so by facilitating a transdisciplinary* conversation about the conditions in which students learn – conditions that are at once political, economic, cultural, technological, biophysical, psychological and spiritual. It aims as well to promote a cross-fertilization of theory and practice, by bringing teachers and educational activists from schools and communities together with academic researchers.

Keynote speaker for this event is Dr. Michael Apple, renowned curriculum and education policy specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is author of Ideology and Curriculum, Education and Power, and Educating the “Right” Way: Markets, Standards, God and Inequality, among many other books.

This is the fifth in a series of conferences initiated by Laurier-Brantford’s Contemporary Studies program. The committee welcomes papers and presentations that explore the current challenges and opportunities of the educational landscape from early childhood to post-secondary levels. Proposals should illustrate how bringing the perspectives and methodologies of particular disciplines bear on our understanding of that landscape, and/or students’ capacities to learn. Papers will be considered for publication as conference proceedings or in an edited collection.

Areas of research may include, but are not limited to:

  • popular culture, media and education

  • classroom culture: diversity and multicultural learning

  • neuroscience, cognition and pedagogy

  • technology and the “digital native”
  • neo-liberal education policies and citizenship
  • schools and spatial politics
  • perceptions, culture and learning

  • development and results-based teaching
  • visual literacy and learning

  • religion, community and schooling

We welcome diverse forms of presentation, including scholarly papers, research posters and workshops exploring landscapes of learning. We encourage proposals for panels (limited to three papers). Please send a title, 250-word abstract, four keywords that describe your research, and your contact information to us at by April 1, 2009. For more information, please consult our website at

Brantford, Ontario, is a community of 90,000, located 110 kilometres west of Toronto. It is approximately one hour from Pearson International Airport in Toronto and a half hour from Hamilton International Airport. Brantford is home to campuses of both Wilfrid Laurier and Nipissing universities, and Mohawk College. Contemporary Studies comprises the core, interdisciplinary program of Laurier-Brantford, as well as the Liberal Arts component of Nipissing’s Concurrent Education program.

*Transdisciplinarity: the use of disciplinary knowledge to move beyond the certitudes of the discipline, and develop integrated insights and analysis that better attend to the complexity and nuances of the world we live in.

CFP – Landscapes of Learning: A Transdisciplinary Conversation in Contemporary Education