2019 Faculty Conference
Oct. 31-Nov. 2

Faculty Conference Updates, May 24, 2019

More information on the following will be available shortly, but we wanted to quickly inform faculty of these exciting developments, which you can also read about in this article on FIRE’s Newsdesk.

1.) We’re very excited to announce Harvard University professor and bestselling author Steven Pinker as our 2019 conference keynote speaker.

2.) We are now accepting general applications from faculty interested in attending the conference, and the form to do so is available here. We will be taking applications on a rolling basis until July 31. If you are submitting or have already submitted a proposal, you will automatically be considered for general attendance as well, and do not need to complete both forms.

The general application form is found at this link.

3.) The deadline to submit proposals has been extended from Friday, May 31, to Monday June 10.

The text of FIRE’s call for proposals is below. Any inquiries may be directed to facultyconference@thefire.org. 

Call for Proposals: 2019 FIRE Faculty Conference

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education invites paper proposals for presentation at our third annual Faculty Conference, which will be held this year at Boston University. The conference will take place from October 31–November 2, 2019.

As with our previous conferences, FIRE welcomes proposals for papers on a wide array of topics related to academic freedom and freedom of expression in modern higher education. Presented work may take the form of original research or a critical narrative, and presentation of research-in-progress is also acceptable. Topics may be examined through the lens of a particular field or discipline, or in the context of higher education more broadly. Each presentation will be accompanied by a moderated panel discussion in which invited participants will give brief responses, followed by a discussion among all attendees. Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the published volumes from our 2017 and 2018 conferences to get a sense of the scope of the conference and the variety of ideas presented.

For our 2019 conference, FIRE is additionally interested not only in presenting academic research, but in examining the academic profession itself and the infrastructure supporting academic research and discovery. Recent academic controversies and trends have presented new challenges to longstanding pillars of academic research such as Institutional Review Boards and the peer review process. The internet and social media have diversified the outlets available for faculty to disseminate their research and offer commentary, while at the same time those outlets have frequently been weaponized to stifle faculty voices and threaten academic research. Tenure remains vulnerable and available to few, and faculty expertise is frequently overridden from within the university and viewed with hostility from without. What other fault lines might exist? How well does the academic process work at protecting academic freedom? We welcome papers exploring this issue from a variety of perspectives.

All accepted presenters who attend and share their completed papers will receive an honorarium of $3,000, in addition to reimbursement for travel and lodging.

The conference is by nature highly interdisciplinary, and faculty in any discipline or field, regardless of institution or faculty status (e.g., tenured, contingent, advanced graduate students) are encouraged to apply.

Application details:

All applicants must submit:

  1. An abstract of up to roughly 300 words (you may additionally attach a completed paper, if applicable)
  2. A current CV
  3. Brief descriptions of the relevance of your proposal to the conference topic, and the resources drawn upon in your work

The deadline for application is June 10, 2019, and selections will be announced in June.

Apply Now

There is no maximum length for papers presented at FIRE’s conference, but it is expected that the presented papers will be 3,000-5,000 words at minimum.

A digital volume of the conference papers will be published by FIRE in 2020. Any work included in the volume will remain the sole property of the author and may be submitted and/or revised for publication elsewhere.  


FIRE and FIRE’s Faculty Conference are not affiliated with Boston University. Although the conference is scheduled to occur on the campus of Boston University, the use of University facilities and/or property does not constitute or imply the endorsement or support of FIRE or FIRE’s Faculty Conference by Boston University.