2021 Annual Meeting: Great Plains Sociology Week

Great Plains Sociology Week 2021

When: November 1st through November 5th 2021

What: Great Plains Sociology Week hosted by the Great Plains Sociological Association (GPSA)

Theme: “Chaos or Community? The Future of Collective Consciousness

Who: Sociologists and other social scientists, social or human service professionals, sociology educators, sociology students (high school, undergraduate, or graduate), and anyone else working in the Great Plains and/or working on social issues affecting Great Plains society

Great Plains Sociology Week is a virtual conference focused on showcasing the sociological research, practice, and experiences of academics and other professionals on the Great Plains.  Whether you are a sociologist, social or human services professional, public health professional, student, educator, or simply a person who cares about social issues on the Great Plains, we invite you to attend and present your work at this annual conference.  This is not just a conference for those working on issues of the Great Plains region, we also highly encourage those who are working in the Great Plains region to share their work and insights with others from the Great Plains community.  Though we welcome your presentations, conference attendees need not be presenters and are welcome to simply attend for learning and networking.  Presentation opportunities include the following categories: formal paper presentations, thematic panel discussions, roundtable discussions, workshops, and research poster presentations.  GPSA is committed to fighting “Zoom fatigue,” so presentations will be scheduled for a few hours across each day of the week to help maximize opportunities for participation while minimizing conflicts with your busy schedules.  Below are descriptions of session types along with a brief discussion of the theme.  Hopefully this helps you to begin planning your submission, but if you have any questions please email Trenton Ellis, GPSA President at Trenton.Ellis@bhsu.edu.

Synchronous Presentations

Formal Paper Presentations: Synchronous with synchronous Q & A

  • Presentations focused on research papers. The main focus is the presentation, but Q & A discussion will follow.

Thematic Panel Discussions: Synchronous with synchronous Q & A

  • Propose a panel discussion with 3-4 participants who will share their expertise on a certain theme or topic.  You are required to select and coordinate participants.

Roundtable Discussions: Synchronous with synchronous Q & A

  • More informal than formal paper presentations, roundtables focus primarily on discussion of research proposals, work underway, and/or topics of shared interest among the roundtable participants.

Workshops: Synchronous with synchronous Q & A

  • Workshops will feature 1-3 presenters who demonstrate, model, or exhibit something for participants. Proposals may demonstrate teaching techniques, model data collection or analysis, showcase technology, or similar demonstration.

Asynchronous Presentations

Research Poster Presentations: Asynchronous with asynchronous Q & A via GPSA YouTube

  • Visualizations of a research project in a two-dimensional Power Point, Prezi, or similar slide. These presentations will use pre-recorded voiceover of the slides, saved as video files, and uploaded to the GPSA Sociology Week YouTube Channel where attendees can watch and comment on the work.

Theme: “Chaos or Community?  The Future of Collective Consciousness” – The theme for Great Plains Sociology Week 2021 was influenced by the title and thoughts expressed by activist (and former sociology undergraduate) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his 1967 book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?  Dr. King’s title and writing framed the post-Civil Rights Act United States as a nation with immense social divisions, primarily along the lines of race and class.  Ultimately King presented the country with two options: remain divided and suffer the widespread consequences or recognize their common humanity and unite to address the human rights problems that affected all members.  Dr. King saw hope in the shared challenges faced by the people of the United States, particularly by working class Americans across racial groups, and hoped that these shared challenges would awaken a collective consciousness to fuel an end to social problems like poverty.  Today, few people would argue that we are currently fulfilling the hopes of unity expressed by Dr. King half a century ago.  Since they began tracking political polarization in 1994, the Pew Research Center (2017) finds that Americans have grown increasingly politically divided along their 10-item scale.  This division is tethered to Americans’ views of gender, sexualities, class, and race.  Even among family members, a 2018 American Psychological Association survey found that about one-third of adult respondents cited politics as creating serious conflicts and animosity within their families.  Events like COVID-19 also reveal the extent of this division with Americans disagreeing about and protesting, along party lines, evidence-based public health measures to mitigate viral transmission (Gollwitzer et al. 2020).  Inquiries into our current political chaos are thus literal life or death questions with potentially global significance.  Will this division continue to grow?  What can sociologists and others concerned about a fractured society do to prevent further splintering or heal this divide?  As we move deeper into the 21st century, will we choose chaos or community?  This year’s theme guides our plenary, keynote address, and encourages participants to craft presentations that connect their work to these questions.  Please keep in mind that this is a suggestion and not a mandate.


The online submission portal is now available! Proposals will be accepted through August 31st, 2021.

Paper sessions featuring both completed research and projects in progress are the mainstays of the GPSA annual conference.  We also want to encourage members to organize panels and workshops, especially those relating to teaching and learning, methods of research/inquiry, or evaluation researchOrganizers of panel sessions are required to invite their panelists.  Apart from poster presentations, all other presentations will be held synchronously via Zoom.  Presenters may be asked to serve as a session presider and “host” the session via Zoom.  In an effort to broaden the reach of GPSA, interested scholars from related fields are highly encouraged to submit proposals.

Please note:  As GPSA is a self-funded conference, we do require that all presenters pay the registration fee ($75 professionals, free for students).

Your proposal will be submitted online through our 2021 Great Plains Sociology Week Proposal portal. We suggest that you create a word file in preparation and be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Contact information: name, institution, address, and email for all presenters
  • Title of Presentation
  • Type of presentation: paper, panel, roundtable, workshop, or poster (students only)
  • 25-word Summary: Please summarize your presentation in 25 words. This will appear in the conference program
  • Abstract: 150-300 words

REGISTER for 2021 Great Plains Sociology Week here: http://www.gpsasociology.org/annual-meetings/2021-annual-meeting/registration/ 

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