Over the last four decades, the formal, non-profit institutional structure has come to dominate social justice work in the US, replacing prior traditions of volunteer-led organizations, membership-based organizing and other more horizontal and participatory mechanisms of civic engagement. Nonprofit organizations have grown in part because of their designation by governments as sub-contractors for the delivery of a wide range of social services.
Today, formally constituted nonprofits perform the bulk of the work of advocacy, research, litigation, service delivery and organizing on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity both in the US and around the world. But questions persist about the nature of the gains made, the agendas being promoted, whom they have benefitted and which populations they leaves behind. This conference is interested in exploring the ways in which the nonprofit form and its attendant traditions of governance, financing, staffing, organizational performance, and goal setting have affected the aspirations, organization, mobilization and vision of US LGBT politics.
This two-day conference will explore the organizational, legal, decision-making, financing and leadership dilemmas, logics and structures within which US-based and/or funded queer and trans organizations operate. Our goal is to explore the ways in which the nonprofit structure and its logics inform the scope, agenda, forms, and aspiration of queer and LGBT politics, and to explore the dilemmas and contradictions created within social movements run by nonprofit based leaders and organizations. This conference will also to examine alternative leadership and structural strategies that broaden participation, widen the sight of LGBT politics and center on redistribution rather than recognition.
This conference is sponsored by the Engaging Tradition Project at the Columbia Law School Center for Gender and Sexuality Law and the Barnard Center for Research on Women.
A NOTE FROM THE CONFERENCE ORGANIZERS:
We're expecting a big crowd and we're thrilled about the interest in the conference. We will have overflow space, but we also recommend that you come on time if you want to ensure a seat. Seating will be first come, first served.