UndocU: Call For Proposals

The deadline for proposals as passed. 

The conference has been postponed until the fall of 2020.


California is home to 55,000 beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and to the largest number of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in the U.S. While TPS and DACA were only temporary solutions, scholars have demonstrated that recipients made significant economic and social gains thanks to the stability and safety that these programs provided (Wong et al. 2017, Rojas-Flores et al. 2019). Beyond DACA and TPS, California is also home to large numbers of mixed-status families, where some members may be undocumented while others have various types of temporary legal status or citizenship. Indeed, 12% of Californians live with an undocumented family member. Across legal statuses and countries of origin, undocumented youth and their families are deeply integrated into the fabric of U.S. communities and contribute to the political, social, economic, and cultural life of our country. With the future of DACA and TPS uncertain, and with an increasing number of young people ineligible for either, what are the prospects for undocumented students, their families and the communities where they live?

In the second annual UndocU conference, we aim to feature the mMural: No Wallultiple and intersectional identities of undocumented individuals, which are often overlooked and undervalued. We ask: how does the rescission of DACA and TPS compel immigrant youth to think about what it means to be unDACAmented? How might unDACAmented youth draw from the knowledge and experiences of previous undocumented generations? And, how does the increasingly limited access to immigration relief amid heightened surveillance and uncertainty shift how allies, service providers, and educational institutions respond to their diverse needs? Enlisting an asset-based approach, the conference critically asks how we might transform threats to individuals via deportation, workplace raids, and immigration surveillance into collective demands for action with im/migrant families in the lead. And, how does immigration status intersect with student organizing and activism across a range of issues like housing and food security, LGBTQ+ rights, among others?

Drawing on our geographic strength as a location with robust and active immigrant communities, we invite papers, presentations, roundtables, performances, and art installations for a two-day conference focused on research with and in support of undocumented students, their families, and communities. We particularly value presentations that are interdisciplinary and that bring together students, faculty, community members, and activists. Special consideration will be given to roundtables that incorporate representatives across the CSU’s and UC’s.

Proposals might address themes of intersecting identities (undocuBlack, undocuQueer, undocuAsian, etc.); the professional lives of DACA beneficiaries; undocumented student experiences and campus support systems; youth resilience and intersectional activism; how people make meaning and create lives amid contexts of uncertainty, xenophobia, and legal violence; and local initiatives to support mixed-status families and those who are once again thrust from documented to undocumented status. Others might consider what recent and potential changes mean for local communities and for university and college campuses.

On Thursday afternoon, the conference will begin with a keynote talk by Ernesto Rocha, aka ‘undocubae’, an LA-based organizer and storyteller. On Friday, a lunchtime plenary will showcase Armando Ibañez, a Latinx queer filmmaker and activist from Mexico who is the director and writer of the series “undocumented Tales.”



Submissions may be made in the following formats:

  1. Individual Paper: Individual paper presentations are 15 minutes long and will be grouped into organized sessions of related papers.
  2. Panel Session: A panel is a group of papers (no more than 5) submitted jointly for a single session. In addition to individual paper abstracts, submission materials must include a panel title, abstract, and session chair. Panel sessions are 90 minutes in length.
  3. Roundtables: Roundtables raise a significant question to be discussed by multiple panelists, and offer unique opportunities for learning and exchange. In lieu of individual abstracts, roundtable proposals should include a single abstract identifying the targeted questions that panelists will address, and the names and affiliations of panelists. Proposals for roundtables should include at least 6 and no more than 10 panelists. Roundtables are 90 minutes in length.
  4. Poster Presentations: Poster presentations display research in visual and textual form. Conference organizers will provide a 4’x8′ board on which to pin your poster presentation. This format is ideal for students presenting initial findings of their research. 
  5. Other Presentation/Installation: We welcome innovative presentations (art installation, visual presentation, short-film, meet-the-author session, etc.) that relate to the conference theme. If you would like to propose a session in this format, provide a summary of the performance/presentation and any specific technology or space requirements. Performances may be up to 30 minutes in length. To discuss other possibilities, please email: lauren.heidbrink@csulb.edu.

All submissions should include:

  • Author/organizer name(s), title and affiliation(s);
  • Type of submission (Individual paper, panel session, roundtable, other presentation);
  • 100-word abstract for papers and  200-word abstract for panels;
  • Three key words;
  • Special considerations (e.g. length of time for performances, space or equipment specifications for art installations, etc.)
  • Special space or A/V needs. (All conference rooms will be equipped with a computer, projector, and audio). 

Call for proposals is now closed. Conference is April 16-17, 2020.