2022 Symposium Call for Submissions

Posted by Carsen Nies, community karma 39

2022 Symposium Call for Submissions

On March 4, 2022, the Seattle Journal for Social Justice (SJSJ) and the American Indian Law Journal (AILJ) will be co-hosting Beyond Rights: Critical Perspectives on Disability Justice at Seattle University School of Law, located in Seattle, Washington.[1] SJSJ is accepting submissions to present at our 2022 symposium and for publication in our symposium issue to follow in 2023.

SJSJ aims to promote critical interdisciplinary discussions on urgent problems of social justice, including exploring the often-conflicting meanings of justice that arise in a diverse society. To further our mission, our editorial board decided to devote this year’s symposium to the disability justice movement’s impacts on the law and lawyering. We hope the symposium will open space for lawyers, scholars, activists, and organizers to discuss the ways in which key critical discussions in the legal field fail to incorporate disability lenses in their analyses, and the compounding negative impacts those failures have not just on people with disabilities, but on lawyers, the legal profession, and liberational and transformational movements. We also hope that our symposium will inspire attendees by fostering an environment where participants can share organizing successes and their transformational visions for a radically inclusive legal profession.

Critical discussions that question the efficacy and morality of prevailing liberal disability “rights” frameworks are vitally important here in Washington. Some of the most pressing issues in Washington exist at the intersection between our legal community and disability, but also race, class, gender, and other axes of oppression. For example, Washington is currently poised to spend $612 million to expand Western State Hospital, a psychiatric prison. Many in the legal and disability “rights” communities may see this expansion as a good thing: more funding for care, a newer and more humane place to heal deficient people. We hope that our symposium will help people in the legal community understand that this expansion is, in fact, an expansion of the architecture and machinery of state violence aimed squarely at people with madness and disabilities like I/DD. If we are going to build a truly liberational community, critical thinkers must lend their voices to this issue and other issues we face, like housing injustice, the climate catastrophe, the uprising against the police, and so many more.

Here at Seattle University School of Law, disability justice in legal education gained visibility as an issue after classes moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic. The school’s administration provided very few accommodations to students with disabilities but reinstated its conditional scholarship program that eliminates scholarships based on class rank. Although the school refuses to provide data, students with disabilities were likely disproportionately impacted by this program. Students organized a campaign to end Seattle University’s ableist conditional scholarship program. The campaign was moderately successful – the administration only reduced scholarships by 50% – but the campaign also prompted ongoing discussions between students, faculty, and the administration about what radical inclusion in legal education means. Is it enough for the school to provide closed captioning for online classes? Should the school force students who have disabilities to come to in-person classes during a pandemic that poses a much greater threat to them than to those who are not disabled? Or should the school lead the legal education field by deeply examining the constituent pieces of legal education that perpetuate ableism in our community and transform them? Organizing around these issues is still highly visible and ongoing. We believe that this symposium will help focus our community’s energy and build momentum for transformative change at Seattle University School of Law.

We are considering submissions covering all areas of disability law to guide this conversation. Topics could include but are not limited to the following: disability criminalization and imprisonment; disability in legal education; disability in Black, Indigenous, or People of Color communities; disability in the LGBTQ community; disability and homelessness; serving clients with disabilities; and experiences with disability injustice or ableism.

How to submit materials:

Email your submission to sjsjcontent@seattleu.edu. Please include “SJSJ 2022 Symposium” in the subject line.

For general inquiries:

Email SJSJ Content Development Editors: Mike Greene at mgreene@seattleu.edu or Briana Nolasco at bnolasco@seattleu.edu.

Click here to read more about why you should publish with SJSJ.

Click here to read more about our 2020 symposium on Jails and Prisons: Rights, Re-Entry and Reform.


[1] We are currently determining whether the event will be held entirely online or whether it will be held in-person with the opportunity to participate online.