Inclusion and Legitimacy

Dear AESS community

We have settled on a simple conference theme for AESS 2018: Inclusion and Legitimacy. I appreciate everyone who weighed in this, especially those who encouraged the minimalist approach. Last month I explained my reasons for considering these two words. Here I extend that discussion based on comments I’ve received.

First, I want to reflect on a request that we not lament our failure to be inclusive, but recognize that there are many success stories around inclusion—programs, projects, organizations that do this well. I agree, and extend that to both terms: please consider developing panels, presentations, workshops, and plenary presentations that focus on successes.

Second, several people suggested additional terms which, while not added, were certainly not rejected. These are engagement and justice…which would also make a fine, standalone conference theme. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine having credible inclusion and legitimacy without justice and engagement. I look forward to sessions that focus on the roles of justice and engagement, which should be hard to decouple from inclusion and legitimacy.

Third, there was concern that this theme is so broad that it could cover everything…and I am hopeful that is true!

>Dave Hassenzahl, AESS President