Learning from the local: place-based education in social studies disciplines

Submission Deadline Date: 5 October 2023


In place-based education, important concepts, content, and constructs are contextualized for students through a local lens. Sobel calls such conceptualization the “pedagogy of place” (2005, p. 11). Schools and community are so intertwined that the community looks to students as valuable resources for change and the school curriculum gives students space to be agents for change. Place-based education is connected to inquiry and project-based learning, approaches used in social studies to engage students in the community as part of schooling (Demarest, 2015; Sobel, 2005). Important aspects of place-based teacher education and place-based education are the ideas of place-consciousness (Gruenwald, 2003) and placemaking (Fettes & Judson, 2011). Students need to reflect on their personal experiences with a place in order to understand how to engage with it. Gaining this understanding of a place can lead us to placemaking, the process of shaping the places where we belong (Fettes & Judson, 2011; Gruenwald, 2003). Blankenship (2018) writes about place attachment as an extension of place-consciousness; it’s not enough to understand a place, but one must also see the assets of a place as an important step to civic action. If one feels negatively about a place, why invest in placemaking?

This special issue of Social Studies Research in Practice seeks to highlight research and practice focusing on the local context in different social studies disciplines. The issue will highlight the role specific places play in informing students’ learning and preservice teachers’ journeys to becoming teachers. Submissions from authors who conduct research in local history, on spatial injustices in communities, in classroom civic participation, in social entrepreneurship, and in cultural anthropology, among others, are encouraged. Submissions telling stories using qualitative methods centering marginalized voices and contexts such as narrative inquiry, phenomenology, ethnography, self-study, and photovoice are also encouraged. Because Social Studies Research and Practice is an online publication, submissions featuring interactive graphic elements such as images, links, and videos are also encouraged to disseminate research findings in ways that go beyond the written word.

More place-focused research can lead to further discussions in social studies education about the importance of highlighting the local context of our work. Research in place-based education can show the social studies disciplines from different perspectives, highlighting the interconnectedness between them. With this goal in mind, we also encourage submissions from other informal education spaces in local communities such as museums, neighborhood associations, parks, and local businesses, working in collaboration with education researchers and/or practicing teachers.  

List of Topic Areas:

  • local history
  • spatial injustices in communities
  • civic participation in the classroom
  • social entrepreneurship
  • cultural anthropology 

Submission Information:

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at:  https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ssrp

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see:  https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/ssrp#author-guidelines

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title Learning from the Local: Place-Based Education in Social Studies Disciplines at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines:

Opening date for manuscript submissions: 15 June 2023
Closing date for manuscript submissions: 5 October 2023