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Critical Literacies in Community Contexts


Deadline for manuscripts: May 15, 2019

Publication date: April 2020

Primary and secondary schools worldwide face a perplexing paradox. Although students represent increasingly diverse racial, sexual, cultural, and linguistic identities, curricular and testing mandates at all levels of schooling are increasingly standardized. Further, the demographics and experiences of the majority of practicing and prospective teachers stand in sharp juxtaposition to those of students. It is important, then, for students and teachers alike to critically examine, disrupt, and at times change the spaces, texts, and practices that shape education and society writ large. In this special issue, we consider the theme of Critical Literacies in Community Contexts. We adopt Luke’s (2014) definition of critical literacy as “ha[ving] an explicit aim of the critique and transformation of dominant ideologies, cultures and economies, institutions, and political systems. As a practical approach to curriculum, it melds social, political, and cultural debate and discussion with the analysis of how texts and discourses work, where, with what consequences, and in whose interests” (p. 22). We also understand critical literacy to be “characterized by an emphasis on students’ voices” (Beck, 2005, p. 394) and position student voices as always intertwined with communities. Thus, students’ experiences, belief systems, languages, and knowledge are central to critical literacy work. Given the current landscape of schools and society, we ask, how might English Language Arts educators leverage students’ community contexts as they enact critical literacy? 

Articles considered for this special issue should fall within one of the following categories: research papers (i.e., reports on original research), essays (e.g., theoretical/conceptual papers, reviews of literature, and/or responses to previously published articles in ETPC), or teacher narratives (i.e., educators’ systematic reflections on or inquiries into aspects of their work). Articles should not only report but stir action and reflection for readers. We hope to unearth the tension inherent in critical literacies and community-engaged research and teaching—reframing perceived failures as spaces for reflection, recalculation, and growth.

In this special issue, we invite conceptual articles that explore theoretical considerations of critical literacies in community contexts as well as empirical research in and outside of classrooms, exploring the challenges and affordances of various pedagogical interventions and strategies. Ultimately, we consider this issue to be a call-to-action for literacy educators and researchers. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

·         Critical literacies in digital communities

·         Critical literacies in international community contexts

·         Participatory and action research

·         Community-based pedagogical interventions and approaches

·         Critical service-learning approaches

·         Critical literacies that intersect communities

·         Learner-led critical literacy approaches

Please see the ETPC “Information for Authors” for submission guidelines, including word limits.

Deadline for manuscripts: May 15, 2019

For questions, please contact:

Meghan E. Barnes and JuliAnna Avila on [email protected]  and [email protected]