Deconstructing Whiteness, Reconstructing Anti-Racism: Approaches to Redressing Racism in Critical Studies of Literacy


Submission window opens on ScholarOne (do not submit before this date): 1st December 2021

Submission deadline: 1st March 2022


Guest Editors

Laura Taylor, Rhodes College

[email protected]

Michiko Hikida, Ohio State University

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Overview of the special issue

Within the field of literacy and in education broadly, there have been calls for humanizing research that foregrounds both teaching/learning and research as fundamentally human practices (Johnson et al., 2017; Martinez, 2018; Paris & Winn 2013). Additionally, there is a growing interest in understanding not only how whiteness is constructed within classrooms and how teachers might work to challenge and disrupt whiteness and white supremacy. While such issues are not new, there has been increased attention to them within and beyond academia recently, in part due to social movements catalyzing around Black Lives Matter, the recent rise in violence again Asian and Asian American people, and the attack on voter rights around the country.

Taken together, these issues suggest the need for critically-oriented methodologies that aim toward not just deconstruction, but also reconstruction that builds understandings of how emancipatory change can be realized (see, Chouliaraki & Fairclough, 1999; Martin, 2004; Luke, 1995, 2004a).

English Teaching: Practice and Critique is soliciting manuscript submissions for a special issue on humanizing literacy teaching and research that explore how reconstructive orientations might make visible how whiteness and white supremacy can be challenged and transformed within literacy education spaces. Specifically, we seek scholarship that grapples with the complexities of constructing anti-racist literacy pedagogies within a white supremacist society and considers how reconstructive research orientations could suggest productive and emancipatory pedagogies.

Proponents of a reconstructive turn have noted cautions in using the approach, because of the risks in downplaying structural and systemic oppression in its celebration of the ‘positive’ (Bartlett, 2012; Rogers & Mosley Wetzel, 2013; Waugh et al., 2016). These cautions must be considered when using reconstructive approaches to analyze the practices of white teachers, given their central role in (re)producing white supremacy (e.g., Hancock & Warren, 2016; Picower, 2009; Sondel et al., in press). Thus, we are particularly (although not exclusively) interested in empirical research that explores the possibilities and tensions in applying reconstructive approaches in both K-12 and teacher education literacy classrooms with white teachers and/or students.


Indicative list of anticipated themes

We invite work that considers the following themes and questions:



  • Critical approaches to literacy instruction
  • Anti-racist literacy pedagogies
  • Reconstructive approaches to analyzing white literacy teacher practice
  • Whiteness in literacy teaching and teacher education



  • How might an intentionally reconstructive approach to research produce more complex and multifaceted representations of literacy teaching and teacher education practice?
  • What theoretical and methodological tools might be useful in this exploration?
  • How can such work simultaneously represent the complicity and resistance of literacy teachers and teacher educators in (re)producing white supremacy?
  • How might this scholarship illustrate the relationships between the institutional and structural foundations of white supremacy and literacy classroom practice? 


Submission details

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