The NSSR Sociology Graduate Conference is an annual event organized by the sociology graduate student body at the New School for Social Research. Graduate students, post-doctoral students, and faculty are invited to present their work. The conference is free and open to the general public.

The 2020 Conference, “What’s Next?: Toward a Sociology of the Future and the Future of Sociology,” will be held on April 4.

The New School for Social Research, since its founding in 1919, is endowed with a rich legacy of historically informed scholarship. At the close of the New School’s centennial, it is within this intellectual tradition that the 2020 Sociology Graduate Conference hopes to redirect our attention towards the future. Our present is animated by future-making practices, discourses, and imaginations: environmental activism rising from the ashes of anthropogenic climate change; financial speculation in the face of recursive economic crises and rising socio-economic inequalities; new nationalisms and alter-globalization movements to combat them; recurring discussions about reparations for the transatlantic slave trade; changing migration flows in the age of shifting borders; an ever-increasing permeation of social life by digital technologies; the circulation of notions like post-liberalism, post-capitalism and post-humanism; the popularity of (techno-)dystopian imaginaries vis-à-vis the resurgence of (speculative) utopian thought.

It is against the background of phenomena and developments like the ones listed above that the 2020 Sociology Graduate Conference invites its participants to ruminate on the current shift in temporal perspective towards the future within and beyond academia. It asks them to engage in a sociological inquiry of future-making, and to reflect on the potentials and challenges this endeavor brings with it. In the spirit of reflexivity, the conference additionally orients our attention towards the discipline itself. What new theoretical and methodological paradigms should the future of Sociology embody? To answer this question, the conference encourages a normatively-grounded, speculative mode of thinking: the intellectual project of envisioning, building and inhabiting desired futures.

Remember to imagine and craft the worlds you cannot live without, just as you dismantle the ones you cannot live within.
—Ruha Benjamin