The International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences will feature plenary session addresses by some of the world's leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Garden Conversation Sessions

Main speakers will make formal 30 minute presentations in the plenary sessions. They will also participate in 60 minute Garden Conversation sessions at the same time as the parallel sessions. The setting is a circle of chairs outdoors. These sessions are entirely unstructured-a chance to meet the plenary speaker and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

  • Robin Blackburn

    Robin Blackburn is a British socialist historian, a former editor of New Left Review, and author of a number of works on Marxism and the history of Slavery in the New World. A former member of the International Marxist Group, he is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor of Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research in New York City.

  • Mary Kalantzis, is Dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinios Urbana Campaign US.

    She also is an Adjunct professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, attached to the Globailsm Institute and Research Director of the Knowledge Design Forum. She was the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia from 1997-2003, the President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education from 2000-2004 and an inaugural member of the Australian National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership 2004 – 2005. She has also been a Commissioner of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Chair of the Queensland Ethnic Affairs Ministerial Advisory Committee and a member of the Australia Council’s Community Cultural Development Board. Her academic research and writing, crosses a number of disciplines, including history, linguistics, education and sociology; and examines themes as varied as Australian immigration, leadership and workplace change, professional learning, pedagogy and literacy learning. With Bill Cope, she is co-author of a number of books, including: 'The Powers of Literacy', Falmer Press, London, 1993, 'Productive Diversity', Pluto Press, Sydney, 1997; 'A Place in the Sun: Re-Creating the Australian Way of Life', Harper Collins, Sydney, 2000; 'Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures', Routledge, London, 2000; and 'Learning by Design', Victorian Schools Innovation Commission, Melbourne, 2005.

  • Terry Lovat

  • Terry Lovat is Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle, Australia. He has authored, co-authored or edited five major academic texts, one (with Smith) in its fourth edition and translated into Swedish. Prof. Lovat has published over 60 refereed journal articles or book chapters. He is on the editorial board of several journals, including the Australian Journal of Education and the international advisory board of the British Journal of Religious Education.

  • Prof. José Manuel Vez

    Prof. José Manuel Vez is Professor of Applied Linguistics into Foreign Languages in the Department of Languages Education at the University of Santiago de Compostela, and at present Director of the Observatory 'Atrium Linguarum: teaching, learning and languages assessment' (, with a research focus on language diversity, intercultural communicative competence and issues enclosing the teaching, learning and assessment problems of language education. We have been awarded the First Prize of the European Label 2006.

    Prof. Vez's main publications have been concerned with rethinking the role of applied linguistics in SLA (e.g. Fundamentos lingüísticos en la enseñanza de lenguas extranjeras, Barcelona, Ariel, 2000), or reflecting on the nature of professional competences of foreign language teachers (e.g. Formación en Didáctica de las Lenguas Extranjeras, Rosario, Argentina: Homo Sapiens, 2001), carrying out detailed studies of adult learners' foreign language competences and its development through e-portfolios (e.g. Diseño de un E-portfolio idiomático (e-PI): Aprendizaje y evaluación de las competencias idiomáticas de profesores, alumnos y PAS de las universidades españolas;, 2006). His research interests include critical applied linguistics, foreign language teacher education, and issues relating to language and education.

  • Barry Smart

    Barry Smart is Professor of Sociology in the School of Social, Historical & Literary Studies at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom. His research interests range from social theory to analyses of aspects of economic life, ethics and morality, and sport. He has published widely in the area of social theory and has several books and articles on the work of Michel Foucault, on the transformation of modernity, on economy and society - especially critical analyses of neo-liberalism - and modern sport and the cultural economy of sporting celebrity. He has recently completed papers for publication on the globalization of sport, and consumer choice. His current research includes a study of consumer society.

  • Mariano Fernández Enguita

    Mariano Fernández Enguita is a Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Sociology and Communication at the University of Salamanca, where he leads the Centro de Análisis Sociales and the Observatorio Social de Castilla y León. Aside from a PhD in Political Sciences and Sociology, he has also studied Economics and has a graduate degree in Law. He has published widely on social inequality, organizations and education. Among his Spanish and Portuguese publications are ‘Educar en tiempos inciertos’ and ‘¿Es pública la escuela pública?'. His English publications include ‘Ethnic group, class and gender in education: Paradoxes in the schooling of Moroccan and Roma students’ and ‘Transnational perspectives on popular culture and public policy: redirecting cultural studies in neoliberal times’.

  • Rafael Feito-Alonso

    Rafael Feito-Alonso is Head of the Department of Social Structure in the Faculty of Sociology at Universidad Complutense in Madrid. He has a PhD in Sociology and has researched and published on social class, class voting and gender inequalities. In the past five years, his main field of research has been the sociology of education. He is currently researching innovative schools in Spain and is Chairman of the Spanish Association of Sociology of Education ( Recently, he published a book on unavoidable changes in the twenty-first century school (Otra escuela es posible, Madrid, Siglo XXI, 2006).

  • Jan Nederveen Pieterse

  • Jan Nederveen Pieterse is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and specializes in globalization, development studies and cultural studies. He has been a visiting professor in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Thailand. In addition, he lectures in many countries and is associate editor of several journals (Futures, Globalizations, European Journal of Social Theory, Ethnicities, Third Text, Journal of Social Affairs). Recent books are Ethnicities and Global Multiculture: Pants for an Octopus (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), Globalization or Empire? (Routledge, 2004), Globalization and Culture: Global Mélange (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003) and Development Theory: Deconstructions/Reconstructions(Sage, 2001).