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Anti-Blackness in English Curriculum, Practice, and Culture

Call for papers for: English Teaching: Practice & Critique

Call for Papers

Anti-Blackness in English Curriculum, Practice, and Culture

A special issue of

English Teaching: Practice & Critique

Guest Editors: 

Dr Stephanie P. Jones, Grinnell College, USA
Dr Rossina Zamora Liu, UMD College of Education, USA

In Ontological Terror: Blackness, Nihilism, and Emancipation, Calvin L. Warren tells us why “Black Lives Matter,” as a statement, carries with it a concealed terror. He writes: “‘Black Lives Matter’ is an important declaration, not just because it foregrounds the quest of unbearable brutality, but also because it…compels us to face the terrifying question, despite our desire to look away… can blacks have life? What would such life mean within an antiblack world?” (2018, p. 1). 

And so here begins our call. 

In the past several weeks we have witnessed a most powerful movement: the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and white progressives took the streets by the masses, chanting— demanding —racial justice for the ongoing ruthless murders of Black children, Black women, and Black men. Statues of Confederate racists fell to the ground, local and city governments sought to defund their police departments, and educational institutions declared antiracist action plans. For many people, these are examples of change; they suggest that our world is making progress. 

But change is an arbitrary concept with wide degrees of variances, and thus, impact. As antiracist educators, we know too well that the change granted is often not likely the change we demanded. Particularly in an antiblack educational system, change often materializes in the abstracts of vague antiracist statements and in “diversity and inclusion” performances—more speaker events, more book clubs, more workshops. Rarely, if ever, does change strike at the onto-epistemological root of white supremacy in pedagogical practices and value systems; expose antiblack racism and violence in teaching practices, values, and culture; challenge antiblack curricula that harm Black and Brown youth of color; expose racial trauma in classrooms; and/or honor the literacies and full humanity of Black and Brown youth through counternarratives. 

In this special issue, we invite educators to consider what real change and real progress look like in an antiblack educational system. While the institution of school is forced to make changes to adapt to a global pandemic, we are still faced with how classrooms and curricula uphold white supremacy. For this reason, we invite educators to submit work that exposes antiblackness in English teaching, practice, and culture, and ultimately, that explicitly humanizes Black and Brown youth of color. We return to Warren’s questions within the context of an antiblack educational system. Can Black and Brown youth have life? How might the English classroom function as a space for Black and Brown youth living? How might educators dismantle antiblack racism in English practice, curriculum, and culture? How might educators demand Black Lives Matter? 

Topics may include: 

  • Antiblack violence and racism in English education
  • Antiblack violence and racism within school curriculum
  • Whiteness in school culture and practices
  • Whiteness in English Education teacher preparation
  • Critical race spatial analysis
  • Critical literacy and antiblackness 
  • Critical Race Theory & other race frameworks in urban education 
  • Antiblackness and racialized trauma in library spaces 
  • Antiblackness in educational policy 

We situate this journal issue with the shared knowledge that antiblackness is global and its reach is undergirded by colonial, imperial, and white supremacist institutions and structures. Ours is an issue that speaks directly against these structures and ways that antiblackness affects BIPOC youth whether they are present in the classroom. We prioritize articles that purposely situate racialized trauma and its epistemological relationship to white supremacy within school spaces. Often issues of curriculum, surveillance, pedagogy, text selection and analysis are heavily represented in their respective journals. We embrace research papers, personal narratives, conceptual/theoretical essays and creative submissions. Finally, we contextualize this special issue not as a new endeavor but as a continuation to honor the legacy of BIPOC knowledge-makers and their work. 

Deadline and Submission Details

The submission deadline for all papers is 30 September 2020

To submit your research, please visit the Scholar One manuscript portal. 
To view the author guidelines for this journal, please visit the journal's page.  

NB: Please refer to the ETPC “Author Guidelines” for instructions for submissions, including word limit. When submitting, please make the correct special issue title is selected from the drop down menu located on page 4. 

Contact the Guest Editors:

Dr Stephanie P. Jones
[email protected] 

Dr Rossina Zamora Liu
[email protected]