About the symposium:

Advancing the Human Condition symposium is an initiative of the Equity and Social Disparity in the Human Condition Strategic Growth Area at Virginia Tech. The symposium intends to foster intellectual discourse surrounding emerging questions of the human condition by convening individuals doing cross-disciplinary, innovative work on these issues. The symposium adopts a dialogue format that features key discussants and respondents in conversation with other researchers, practitioners, and scholar activists.


  • To identify emerging questions around issues related to the human condition;
  • To further the role of research and scholarship across disciplines in advancing equity and eliminating social disparities.
  • To convene academics, scholar activists, and scholar practitioners doing cross-disciplinary, innovative work around these issues.

Call for discussants:

The Symposium Planning Committee invites discussants who can contribute to dialogues for any of the following areas related to Identity and the Human Condition:

- Theories, Methodologies, Pedagogies, and Communities related to social identities and lived experiences. Examples of topics may include:

  • What are emerging theories for understanding the human condition?
  • How are identity-based social movements shifting our frameworks for thinking about the human condition?
  • How are ethnographic and arts-based methodologies expanding our understanding of social identities?
  • What is the relationship between identities that are socially constructed and those that are performative or self-authored?
  • How is social identity learned?
  • Is a post-racial / non-binary world possible—or desirable?
  • What defines community in a world without borders?


Destination Areas including adaptive brain and behavior, data and decision sciences, global systems science, integrated security, or intelligent infrastructure for human-centered communities.

Thematic Areas such as food security and systems, the built environment, the natural environment, sustainable global prosperity, public health, or innovative technologies.

We are seeking nominations for lead discussants, respondents, and conveners.

  • Discussants plant the seeds of inquiry for the group, drawing upon their own work and demonstrating how it informs understanding of the human condition.
  • Respondents extend the ideas put forth by the discussants by listening for emerging themes and generating broad questions that may guide further research, investigation, and reflective inquiry.
  • Conveners facilitate the process: framing the session, directing the flow, and making sure to engage the whole group.

The Planning Committee is particularly interested in nominations of under-represented scholars, as well as those uniquely committed to advancing diversity and the human condition.

The Planning Committee welcomes self-nominations.

Go to Advancing the Human Condition Symposium to complete a nomination or enter in your browser.