Blind Spots in Public Administration: Looking Inward to Improve Responses to Changing Landscapes
2018 Northeast Conference on Public Administration
Baltimore, Maryland November 2-4, 2018

We all have intellectual blind spots, those issues or topics where our view is obstructed from seeing clearly. In these spaces, we are literally blind to what is happening and as a result, unable to gather information to change our point of view. Indeed, our society has recently become increasingly aware of some blind spots. For example:
  • The Black Lives Matter movement has drawn attention to inequity and mistreatment of people of color, specifically in response to shootings of unarmed black men by police
  • The unfolding investigations into election meddling by Russia, especially the most recent U.S. presidential election, have drawn attention to privacy and other issues
  • The #MeToo and Times Up movements have drawn attention to sexual harassment and unequal treatment of women, primarily in response to abuses in the film industry

In each of these cases, a small, but growing group of people have raised their voices about the way the majority has been obstructed from seeing these threats and abuses. It has taken time for these voices to build to a level that can be heard and understood by larger portions of society, usually due to blind spots that are associated with race, gender identity, or political socialization. In the wake of these movements, we are faced with how to deal with and learn from these blinds spots, a move that requires a true reckoning.
What intellectual blind spots exist for public administration and our broader system of governance? On what topics is our view obstructed? Where are voices hushed or silenced? Whose voices are hushed or silenced? This conference aims to consider these questions in an attempt to uncover, explore, and address these blinds spots.

The 2018 NECOPA host is the University of Baltimore, a diverse campus in an urban environment with a history of addressing critical issues in our academic programs and research. The University of Baltimore is an apt location for this year’s theme on blind spots as Baltimore City, like many jurisdictions in the United States, faces the challenge of addressing decades of inequity in policies, public spaces, and institutional processes.

Inspired by this central theme, papers, posters, and panels around the following conference tracks are solicited:
  • Federal Governance. Possible topics include: elections, federal level, politics, etc.
  • Local Governance. Possible topics include: local policies, developments, agencies, etc.
  • Voice of the People. Possible topics include: #metoo/sexual harassment, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA issues, women in academia, etc.
  • Global Contexts. Possible topics include: comparative, transnational, immigration, migration
  • Training for Inclusive Participation and Public Service. Possible topics include: citizen engagement, public service, training, public service education, pedagogy
  • Other Topics in Public Administration Research and Practice: Including any public administration and policy relevant topics not covered above.

The deadline for priority consideration is August 1, 2018. Submit paper or poster proposals (250 word limit) or fully-formed panel proposals (400 word limit) at:
For questions about proposals or the conference, contact [email protected].