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Religion in the Social Studies and Social Studies Education

Special issue call for papers from Social Studies Research and Practice

Editor: Rory P. Tannebaum, Ph.D.; Merrimack College ([email protected])

Religion’s presence permeates across the globe influencing the decisions of millions of people on a daily basis. Citizens need to be exposed to various religions from an early age so they have better chances of developing citizens who can effectively participate in our global pluralistic society.

No more viable place exists for exposure to the world’s variety of religions than in the pre-Kindergarten-12 classroom. Despite the often-homogenous nature of many classrooms, they frequently offer students more diversity in terms of views and beliefs than do students’ families, religious institutions, sports teams, or friend groups. The classroom, therefore, has the potential to provide students with opportunities to learn about and speak with individuals of different religious backgrounds in a controlled and supportive environment.

There perhaps exists no content-area better suited to engage students in inquiry and experiences with diverse viewpoints on various religions than the social studies. The social studies is essential to a powerful curriculum given all of the opportunities it provides students to understand the world around them through conversations on culture, current issues and events, and the ways in which humans interact. Further, the social studies aims to promote reform-oriented, tolerant citizens capable of entering into and a democratic, pluralistic society.

Teachers in both the social studies and in other content areas more often than not choose to avoid the inclusion of religion into their pedagogical practice. Avoidance occurs for a variety of reasons including – though certainly not limited to – a fear of offending students or parents, a lack of knowledge regarding specific religions, or concern about showing bias. Avoiding speaking about religion does a disservice to students and, subsequently, society as it can perpetuate a consistent problem of ignorance, intolerance, and misinformation regarding various religions.

Though research exists on the place of religion in education, there has yet to be a collection of articles exploring religion’s place in both the social studies classroom and the preparation of social studies educators. This special issue seeks to explore these topics by collecting and disseminating work from scholars and practitioners within the field of social studies education. The issue will be divided into three sections:

  1. Practice: Practical lessons connected to the aims of the social studies meant to help teachers at the early childhood, elementary and secondary levels incorporate various religions into their social studies pedagogy. These manuscripts can be situated within various disciplines within the social studies (e.g., history, geography, political science, current events, religious studies). Beyond the Pre-k-12 level, this section also seeks articles meant to assist those within higher education (from preservice teachers to teacher educators) to better understand how to integrate religion into a social studies curriculum.
  2. Traditional and Action Research on Religion in the Social Studies: Articles grounded in traditional or action research that help those in the field to better understand religion’s place in the social studies at the Pre-k-16 level. These manuscripts should be empirically-grounded and either seek to continue lines of research connecting religion and the social studies or present suggestions for how to improve the extent to which religion is incorporated into the social studies by analyzing empirical data.
  3. Features: Manuscripts with a focus on one of the journal’s features: interdisciplinary manuscripts exploring the extent to which religion can and should be integrated into the social studies classroom, social justice manuscripts considering religion’s role in the classroom as a means for overturning the status quo and providing a voice to marginalized groups, and manuscripts exploring notable books which describe how to proactively use children’s and adolescent trade books to address religion.       

      Submission Procedure

Interested authors are invited to submit 600-800 word abstracts (not including title page, references, appendices) articulating their vision for an article related to one of the above sections. Proposals should clearly note which section the authors are applying to and provide a clear and concise overview of the contents of the proposed manuscript, the intended audience, and the format of the manuscript. Submissions should be written in APA (6th edition) and include a full list of references used to develop the manuscripts. Please send all inquiries to: Rory P. Tannebaum ([email protected]).

Note: The goal for this process is to provide a wide-range of participants (e.g., classroom teachers, graduate students, faculty members) with the opportunity to develop their ideas and work collaboratively to create a valuable special issue of SSRP. In keeping with this aim, the editor and reviewers will work collaboratively with interested authors to develop ideas and create cohesive and powerful essays.


This special issue of Social Studies Research and Practice will be published through Emerald Publishing.

Tentative Schedule for Publication:

Submission of proposals: ____March 1, 2019__________

Notification of accepted proposals: __March 15, 2019____________

Submission of full manuscripts: _April 30, 2019_____________

Revised/Final version of manuscripts received by editor: __June 1, 2019____________

Final issue submitted to publisher: ___July 1, 2019___________

Anticipated publication: _____July 2019_________