Past Calls for Proposals

Call for Proposals

Academic Labor: Research and Artistry (ALRA)

Issue 6: Labor during a Pandemic

Academic Labor: Research and Artistry (ALRA) is a peer-reviewed open access academic journal launched in 2016 by the Center for the Study of Academic Labor (CSAL) at Colorado State University. ALRA is supported by a generous grant from CSU Open Press. The journal encourages ongoing research on matters relating to tenure and contingency in the academy, both nationally and internationally. Along with our center and website, we offer a research home for those undertaking scholarship in areas broadly defined as tenure studies, contingency studies, and critical university studies. To meet this objective, we invite a wide range of contributions, from the statistical to the historic/archival, from the theoretical to the applied, from the researched to the creative, and from empirical to essayist forms. Our editors and reviewers include social scientists, artists, and theorists specializing in labor issues.

We hope that you enjoyed Issue 4, guest edited by Lisa Melancon on the topic of Labor in Technical Communication. Shortly, Issue 5 will focus on discussions of intersectionality, social justice, and academic labor within the academy. This issue will extend important conversations about the labor of positionality, intersectionality, and identity  (Tweedy, 2019; Bonilla-Silva, 2019; Balaji and Ramirez, 2019; Moore, Acosta, Perry, and Edwards, 2010; Patton, Shahjahan, and Osei-Kofi, 2010; Jones, 2010; Takacs, 2002), especially within TT and NTTF’s social justice efforts on campus, in administration, within the classroom, across departments, in research collaborations, the peer review process, annual evaluations, etc. Guest Editors are Genesea Carter and Rickie-Ann Legleitner. Expected publication is Fall 2020. 

Here’s the link to our journal if you missed any of the issues:

Our sixth issue will focus on discussions of labor during the pandemic. Given the unprecedented context of COVID-19 and its impact on universities and colleges, we seek to extend the conversation  on labor in this issue.  Writers may be encouraged in their consideration of themes by the launch of the AAUP investigation into abuses of shared governance around the country, occurring as a result of the pandemic, and having broad implications for academic labor. The AAUP announcement of their investigation, the report of which is expected in early 2021, reads in part as follows:

The AAUP has authorized an investigation of the crisis in academic governance that has occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on seven institutions: Canisius College (NY), Illinois Wesleyan University, Keuka College (NY), Marian University (WI), Medaille College (NY), National University (CA), and Wittenberg University (OH). Given the comprehensive nature of the undertaking, the investigating committee may decide to discuss relevant situations at additional institutions. The report, to be released in early 2021, will reach findings on whether there have been departures from AAUP-supported principles and standards of academic governance, as set forth in the Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities and derivative AAUP policy documents, but it may explore other issues as well, such as the effects of unilaterally imposed mass layoffs on academic freedom and tenure, the enrollment and financial challenges facing many institutions, and the impact of these challenges on higher education, especially the humanities and liberal arts. 

We also invite perspectives from the K-12 realm. Like college and university faculty, most K-12 teachers went to remote teaching in the spring of 2020 and subsequently have been thrust into new asynchronous online, synchronous online, hybrid, modified f2f, and so-called Hyflex modes of teaching delivery.  We seek to address the dearth of theorization about the work implications of these requirements. 

Our goal is to further a conversation that will help us all move forward but will also help us to understand and theorize the importance of the pandemic period in terms of  the work of academic laborers across all parts of the labor spectrum. Possible directions for inquiry and discussion include:

  • What have been the components of work since the pandemic? 

  • How have expectations for varied delivery modes of instruction changed faculty work? 

  • How have the intellectual property concerns of faculty shifted over the period, particularly as a result of increased online instruction? 

  • How has research and the tenure clock been affected by pandemic?

  • How has the notion of service over the period shifted? In fact, how have all parts of faculty effort shifted--research, teaching, and service?  

  • How has the most risky work of the period fallen disproportionately on some faculty groups with associated implications of these differences in burden? 

  • What have we learned about the vulnerability and responsibility of front-line workers, such as cafeteria workers and custodians, who must be physically present on campus?

  • To what extent has the voice of the academic worker been integrated into decision making through shared governance and other approaches? 

  • How has the labor of pandemic responsiveness competed with the work of social justice at the expense of equity efforts? 

  • How have voluntary retirements along with hiring freezes/frosts increased work among remaining employees? 

  • How has “administrative opportunism” been demonstrated during the pandemic period? 


Please do not consider this an exhaustive list of possibilities! Submit a piece of not more than 10,000 words (in length, including abstract, notes and citations) to by 1 March 2021 with publication of Issue 6 expected in the Fall of 2021.

Additionally, we at ALRA would like to engage in collaborative writing processes for this issue. To do so, we have launched a Google doc that enables interested scholars, practitioners and writers to co-author an ongoing narrative about their labor during the COVID-19 pandemic. We envision a real-time interaction of inventing, revising, collaborating, and discussing where we can support one another, commiserate, and learn about the day-to-day goings on as we navigate these strange times. Contributors will be granted permission to edit the document upon request. The journal editors reserve the right to do final editing of this document for readability and will signal when the posting period is over. The link to that document is