Summer 2021 Pop Up

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Summer 2021 Pop-Up Institute

May 24th – June 11th, 2021

The 2021 Pop-Up Institute, “Beyond the Future of Work: New Paradigms for Addressing Global Inequality,” brought together nearly 70 researchers, activists, and advocates to reconsider extant framings and accounts of the future of work, in light of its past and present. It did so with attention to the lived experiences of those rendered most precarious by work and its imagined futures.

This page provides you with detailed information about the Pop-Up Institute, including a link to a searchable archive of recorded videos of all the public events. The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and the Office of the Vice President for Research sponsored the Institute. It was co-sponsored by: 

The Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations,
The South Asia Institute,
The LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections,
and Good Systems, all at the University of Texas at Austin.

Principal Investigators

Karen Engle

Karen Engle, JD
Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law; Co-Director of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, School of Law

Neville Hoad

Neville Hoad, PhD
Associate Professor of English, College of Liberal Arts; Co-Director of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, School of Law

Participatory Researchers

Bedour Alagraa

Bedour Alagraa, PhD
Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Kamran Asdar Ali

Kamran Asdar Ali, PhD
Professor of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts

Nicole Burrowes

Nicole Burrowes, PhD
Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Bob Bursey

Bob Bursey
Executive Director, Texas Performing Arts

Mechele Dickerson

Mechele Dickerson, JD
Arthur L. Moller Chair in Bankruptcy Law and Practice; University Distinguished Teaching Professor, School of Law

James Galbraith

James Galbraith, PhD
Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations & Professor of Government, LBJ School of Public Affairs; Professor of Government, College of Liberal Arts

Anne Lewis

Anne Lewis, BFA
Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Radio-Television-Film, Moody College of Communication

Minkah Makalani

Minkah Makalani, PhD
Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies; Director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Robin Moore

Robin Moore, PhD
Professor of Ethnomusicology, Butler School of Music, College of Fine Arts

Alejandro Moreno

Alejandro Moreno, MBBS, MPH
Assistant Dean and Director of Medical Education; Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Dell Medical School

Snehal Patel

Snehal Patel, MD
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Dell Medical School

Sharmila Rudrappa

Sharmila Rudrappa, PhD
Professor of Sociology; Director of South Asia Institute, College of Liberal Arts

Sonia Seeman

Sonia Seeman, PhD
Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology, Butler School of Music, College of Fine Arts

The Institute was structured around five research clusters: 

Prevailing institutional and political approaches to the future of work tend to focus on the ambitious promises of new technology or threats to the manufacturing, service, and, increasingly, knowledge economies. This research cluster brings critical perspectives to these approaches, pushing those working at the cutting edge of these fields to question the neutrality of “innovation,” and the radical transformations that technology is having not just on labor markets, but on work, workers, and livelihood itself. What does it mean to have technological change that is also in the public interest when technological changes always take place within pre-existing milieus of racial, social, and economic constellations? We also critically study proposals put forward by many to address the effects of such innovation on the workers left behind, such as UBI, “skilling up,” and new forms of entrepreneurism enabled by digital platforms and the gig-economy.

Engaging with broader conversations across the arts and humanities, this research cluster highlights the many ways in which the future of artistic labor has emerged as an urgent question for both universities and the wider public. The importance of the creative arts is lost on funders that often clamor to define value through indices such as contributions to GPD and growth, while COVID-19 protocols around sheltering in place and social distancing have decimated livelihoods dependent on live performance. In a digital age, where much content has been out-sourced or crowd-sourced, cultural producers are increasingly expected to work for free or for intangibles like exposure or reputation. This cluster focuses on the non-economic and public benefits of the arts and humanities on campuses and in the community. We raise questions about the future of cultural workers, artists, and those who work in artistic productions, to think innovatively about the future of work and beyond.

Care workers are among the most vulnerable workers in most economies. The COVID-19 pandemic has only laid bare the crisis in caring that has been a long time in the making. Care workers are more likely to be deemed “essential workers” who face long work hours, high risk, low pay, and job insecurity. Moreover, with the shutting down of daycares, temporary closures of schools, eldercare facilities, and rural hospitals, the burdens for caring have transferred to individual women within households, even as women of color and immigrants have lost formal employment. This cluster questions inherited models for waged and un-waged caring through engaging with broader conversations on immigration, gender/ sexuality, racial exclusion, and social justice to reimagine the future of care work.

The disproportionate racial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s livelihood and work has laid bare the historical, gendered, and racialized patterns of domination and subordination produced by globalized racial capitalism. This cluster examines the definitions and implications of the designation of “essential” work, past, present, and future. We are particularly interested in how a myriad of laws, regulations, and economic policy—involving occupational health and safety, sick leave, social provisioning, labor protest, immigration, and just-in-time manufacturing—have combined to create a low-income, highly racialized workforce that is both essential and expendable. We aim to facilitate new imaginaries for work and livelihood that make no one expendable and that properly value and distribute “essential” work, even while recognizing the constructed nature of the category

Underlying dominant analyses of the future of work lurks an ahistorical nostalgia for “full employment” that misses much of the reality of work and livelihoods in the Global South. With a focus on informality, comparative forms of transnational labor migration, labor across global supply chains, and the global dependence on remittances, this cluster considers ever-increasing forms of inequality against a backdrop of crumbling options for large swathes of the world’s poor to make a living. By paying attention to the relationship among colonialism, the rise of the nation state, and the spread of global forms of migration facilitation and restriction, this cluster posits the global South as a crucial vantage from which to critique contemporary narratives around the future of work.

WEEK ONE

May 24, 2021

OPENING OF THE POP-UP INSTITUTE

Welcome:

Alison Preston, Interim Vice President for Research & Professor of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin

Opening Remarks:

Karen Engle, Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law & Founder and Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Neville Hoad, Associate Professor of English & Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas at Austin

KEYNOTE ROUNDTABLE

Adelle Blackett, Professor of Law & Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labour Law and Development at the Faculty of Law, McGill University 

Aaron Benanav, Postdoctoral Researcher, Humboldt Universität, Berlin 

Prabha Kotiswaran, Professor of Law and Social Justice, King’s College London 

Juan De Lara, Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California-Dornsife 

Moderated by Karen Engle, Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law & Founder and Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Relevant Research Clusters: AI and Technology, Essential Work, Care Work, Work Across the Global South

May 26, 2021

BEYOND INEQUALITY: GLOBAL RACIAL CAPITALISM

Dennis Davis, Professor of Commercial Law, University of Cape Town

Arun Kundnani, Independent Scholar

Minkah Makalani, Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Vasuki Nesiah, Professor of Human Rights and International Law at the Gallatin School, New York University

Moderated by Neville Hoad, Associate Professor of English & Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas at Austin

Relevant Research Clusters: Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

May 27, 2021

BEYOND INEQUALITY: CASE STUDIES

Jennifer Bair, Professor of Sociology & Department Chair, University of Virginia

Karen Engle, Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law & Founder and Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Samuel Tabory, PhD Student, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

Helena Alviar García, Professor, Sciences Po Law School

Jorge Gonzalez, Professor, Universidad de los Andes Law School, Colombia

Jennifer Gordon, Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law

Neville Hoad, Associate Professor of English & Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas at Austin

Kerry Rittich, Professor of Law, Women and Gender Studies, and Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto

Moderated by David Kennedy, Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law & Director of the Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard University

Relevant Research Clusters: AI and Technology, Care Work, Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

May 28, 2021

CAPITALISM ON EDGE: A CONVERSATION

Albena Azmanova, Reader (Associate Professor), Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent

Interviewer and Discussant: James Galbraith, Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government and Business Relations & Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin

Relevant Research Clusters: AI and Technology, Care Work, Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

WEEK TWO

June 1, 2021

KEYNOTE ROUNDTABLE: Worker Advocacy Organizations and the Future of Work

Richard Dobson, Co-Founder and Project Leader, Asiye eTafuleni

Katie Joaquin, Deputy Director, Jobs to Move America

Lenny Sanchez Co-Founder, Independent Drivers Guild of Illinois (IDG)

Lise Soskolne, Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.)

Emily Timm, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, Workers Defense Project

Moderated by Nicole Burrowes, Assistant Professor of History, Rutgers University

Relevant Research Clusters: AI and Technology, Artistic Labor and the Humanities, Care Work, Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE GIGI ECONOMY? A CONVERSATION

Veena Dubal, Professor of Law and Harry & Lillian Hastings Research Chair, University of California, Hastings

Interviewer and Discussant: William E. Forbath, Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Law & Associate Dean for Research, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Relevant Research Clusters: AI and Technology, Essential Work

June 2, 2021

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: WORKERS AT THE CENTER: REIMAGINING THE FUTURE OF WORK

Sarita Gupta, Director of the Ford Foundation’s Future of Work(ers) program.

Respondents: Kamran Asdar Ali, Anthropology, Middle East Studies, & Asian Studies (Work Across the Global South); Mechele Dickerson, School of Law (Essential Work); Min Kyung Lee, School of Information, (AI and Technology); Anne Lewis, Radio-Television-Film (Artistic Labor and the Humanities); and Sharmila Rudrappa, Sociology & South Asia Institute (Care Work).

Relevant Research Clusters: AI and Technology, Artistic Labor and the Humanities, Care Work, Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

AUTOFAC: SCIENCE FICTION AND THE FUTURE OF WORK

Bruce Sterling, Science Fiction Writer

In conversation with

Samuel Baker, Associate Professor of English, University of Texas at Austin

Simone Browne, Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Neville Hoad, Associate Professor of English & Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas at Austin

Nitin Verma
PhD Student, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin

Relevant Research Clusters: AI and Technology, Artistic Labor and the Humanities, Essential Work

June 3, 2021

“ESSENTIAL FOR WHAT?” A CONVERSATION ON THE GLOBAL DIMENSION OF ESSENTIAL WORK

Sara Stevano, Lecturer, Department of Economics, SOAS

In discussion with:

Mechele Dickerson, Arthur L. Moller Chair in Bankruptcy Law and Practice & University Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Karen Engle, Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law & Founder and Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Sam Tabory, PhD Student, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

Sharmila Rudrappa, Professor of Sociology & Director of the South Asia Institute, University of Texas at Austin

Moderated by Neville Hoad, Associate Professor of English & Co-Director, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas at Austin

Relevant Research Clusters: Care Work, Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

June 4, 2021

CONVERSATIONS ON CARING

Carrie Freshour, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Washington

Libby McClure, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Occupational Safety and Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill & Data Health Analyst, DataWorks NC.

Snehal Patel, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Dell Medical School, University of Texas at Austin

Sharmila Rudrappa, Professor of Sociology & Director of the South Asia Institute, University of Texas at Austin

Moderated by Pavithra Vasudevan, Assistant Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies and African & African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Relevant Research Clusters: Care Work, Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

WEEK THREE

June 7, 2021

THE FUTURE OF WORK: THE VIEW FROM SOUTH AFRICA

Haroon Bhorat, Professor of Economics & Director of the Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town

Neva Makgetla, Senior Economist at Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies

Imraan Valodia, Economist & Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Law, and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Moderated by Dennis Davis, Professor of Commercial Law, University of Cape Town

Relevant Research Clusters: Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

June 8, 2021

RESTRUCTURING CARING LABOR: RADICAL CARE WORK

Ashleigh Hamilton, Community Organizer, Communities of Color United for Racial Justice (CCU)

Vrinda Marwah, PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

Deborah Parra-Medina, Professor of Mexican American and Latino Studies & Director of the Latino Research Institute, University of Austin at Texas

Lilla Pivnick, PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

Gabriela Torres, Community Organizer, Communities of Color United for Racial Justice (CCU)

Yolanda White, Executive Board Member of Texas State Employees Union (TSEU)

Moderated by Hi’ilei Hobart, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin

Relevant Research Clusters: Care Work, Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

June 9, 2021

“HEROES OF THE GLOBAL SOUTH: LABOR MIGRATION IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE

Hae Yeon Choo, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto, Mississauga

James Gabrillo, Assistant Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, University of Texas at Austin

Rui Jie Peng PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

Andrea Wright, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, College of William and Mary

Moderated by Kamran Asdar Ali, Professor of Anthropology, Middle East Studies, and Asian Studies, University of Texas

Relevant Research Clusters: Artistic Labor and the Humanities, Care Work, Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

June 10, 2021

INFORMALITY AND THE FUTURE OF WORK: A CONVERSATION

Rina Agarwala, Associate Professor of Sociology & Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Sociology, John Hopkins University

Luis Eslava, Reader in International Law, University of Kent

Moderated by Kamran Asdar Ali, Professor of Anthropology, Middle East Studies, and Asian Studies, University of Texas

Relevant Research Clusters: Care Work, Essential Work, Work Across the Global South

June 11, 2021

FOR LOVE AND MONEY: THE FUTURE OF THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES NOW

Charlie Lockwood, Executive Director, Texas Folklife

Rachel Magee, President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)

Raasin McIntosh, CEO and Creative Director of Raasin in the Sun

J Muzacz, Local Artist in Austin

Robin Moore, Professor of Ethnomusicology, Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin

Sidonie Smith, Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature, University of Michigan

Moderated by Anne Lewis, Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Radio-Television-Film, University of Texas at Austin

Relevant Research Clusters: AI and Technology, Artistic Labor and the Humanities, Care Work, Essential Work