Teaching about Religion and Spirituality: Pathways to Anti-Oppressive Visions of the Social Studies

Teaching about Religion and Spirituality: Pathways to Anti-Oppressive Visions of the Social Studies


According to research by the Pew Foundation (2022), Americans experience increasing percentages of people who are spiritual but not religious. Such findings may not be surprizing in this world of science and fact. Yet, as Kristoff (2014) pointed out, the United States also carries a certain amount of religious ignorance as well. This absent or shallow knowledge represents a key determinant in the exodus that characterizes contemporary religious climates.

Ongoing conflict in the middle east represents the extension of ongoing religious disputes (Armstrong, 2001), while governments control, monitor, and otherwise oppress religious thinking in Asiatic settings (Marsh, 2011). Authentic education of youth about spirituality and religion in these communities represents an essential process in the pursuit of world peace.

Although the emphasis on spiritualty scholarship has transitioned from issues concerning the metaphysical to civics (Watson, 2003), teaching about religion and spirituality in teacher education is not without its proponents (Lin and Lucey, in press). Regarding social studies, research connects spirituality with social studies social studies and economics (Lucey, 2019, 2021) and relates it to digital citizenship (Asmuni, 2021).

In today’s materially factual environment, religion and spirituality serve as potential tools for anti-oppressive social teaching that potentially thwarts ignorance of myths promulgated by the dominant culture (Rodriguez & Swalwell, 2022). When viewed through a broader lens, various faiths and their originating contexts purport to serve as efforts to challenge the dominant narrative (Armstrong, 2001; Crossan, 2015). With time, the foundational principles have been compromised to serve the social agenda of the socially privileged (McLaren, 2021) and suppress the social interests of women and other minoritized groups (Barr, 2021; McCaulley, 2020).

This Special Issue serves to engage the readership community in dialogue about understandings/teachings of spirituality and religion as they relate to social studies. Considering the intersections of these areas with the social studies themes of history, economics, geography, and civics offers opportunities to broaden understandings of these concepts and how they inform the formation of a critically thinking democratic citizenry.


Armstrong, K. (2001). Holy war: Crusades and their impact on today’s world. Anchor Books.
Asumuni, A. (2021). Moral teachings and spirituality in manuscript studies: A critical study of social Values in the Digital Age. Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 12(4), 302-309.
Barr, B. A. (2021). The making of biblical womanhood. How subjugation of women became gospel truth. Brazos.
Crossan, J. D. (2015). How to read the Bible and still be a Christian. Harper.
Douthat, R. (2012). Bad religion. How we became a nation of heretics. Free Press.
Kristof, N. (April 27, 2014). Religion for $1,000, Alex. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/opinion/sunday/kristof-religion-for-….
Lin, M., & Lucey, T. A. (in press). Rekindling embers of the soul: An examination of spirituality issues relating to teacher education. Information Age Publishing.
Lucey, T. A., (2021). Notions of spiritual capital - A matter of extinction for social education? Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 12(1), 1-23.
Lucey, T. A. (2019). Examining a measure of spiritual capital: Perceptions of business and education majors. Citizenship, Social, and Economics Education, 18(1), 3-15.
Marsh, C. (2011). Religion and the state in Russia and China. Suppression, revival, and survival. The Continuum International Publishing Group.
McCaulley, M. (2020). Reading while Black. African American biblical interpretation as an exercise in hope. IVP Academic.
McLaren, B. D. (2021). Faith after doubt. Why your beliefs stopped working and what to do about it. St. Martins.
Pew Foundation (2022). Modeling the future of religion in America. https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2022/09/13/modeling-the-future-of-….
Watson, J. (2003). Preparing Spirituality for citizenship. International Journal of Children's Spirituality, 8(1), 9-1. doi: 10.1080/13644360304641.

List of topic areas

  • Spirituality and religion
  • Behavioural sciences within the social studies
  • Early childhood or elementary classrooms
  • Teaching about different faith traditions, their origins, and the relevancies to social studies curricula. 

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here.

Author guidelines must be strictly followed.

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title 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 manuscripts submissions (if agreed with publisher): 8th January, 2024

Closing date for abstract submission: 22nd March, 2024

Closing date for manuscripts submission: 17th May, 2024    

Email for submissions: [email protected]