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The 2017 symposium explored tensions and affinities between organized labor, the profession of social work, and other social justice movements. Panelists traced the histories of the professionalization of social work and the American labor movement from intersectional and critical perspectives, asking: How have organizing efforts to advance economic equality simultaneously exacerbated racial and gender inequalities? Why have social workers been largely absent from the American labor movement? How is social work positioned to respond to the changing nature of work - related to automation, the decline in manufacturing, the disappearance of welfare, neoliberal economic policies, and an expanding service sector and gig-economy - and how might social workers and labor organizers contribute to a reimagined and revitalized labor movement?

Laboring for Social Justice:
Social Work, Organized Labor & the Future of Work

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Co-sponsored by the Development Office and the Joint PhD Program Office.

Panelists include:

  • Dr. Mark E. Courtney, Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, editor of Social Service Review, and author of Unfaithful Angels: How Social Work has Abandoned Its Mission
  • Dr. Austin McCoy, Michigan Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan, historian, and community organizer who has participated in Ann Arbor's #BlackLivesMatter movement and efforts to promote racial justice on campus;
  • Dr. Lawrence Root, Professor Emeritus of the School of Social Work & former director of the University of Michigan Institute of Labor & Industrial Relations;
  • Dr. Marcia Bombyk, Professor of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University, graduate of the joint doctoral program in Social work & Psychology, founding member and former president of GEO (Graduate Employees Union), and former editorial board member for Catalyst: A Socialist Journal of the Social Services.

PhD Student Coordinators:

  • Oto Alves da Silva, Doctoral Student, Joint Program in Social Work and Anthropology
  • Kathryn Berringer, Doctoral Student, Joint Program in Social Work and Anthropology
  • Michael Evangelist, Doctoral Student, Joint Program in Social Work and Sociology

As an added bonus, this year CASD will also count toward 1.5 Macro CEUs.

Event Details

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