Call for Papers: Learning In and For Collective Social Action

Proposals are invited for papers for a special issue of the Journal of the Learning Sciences. Guest editors: Joe Curnow and A. Susan Jurow

Scholars in the learning sciences are increasingly and more explicitly attending to questions about the political and ethical dimensions of our designs and scholarship. What is our work for? Whom does it serve and how might it advance democratic engagement for equity? These questions challenge the framing of learning as an objective or non-political process. It invites us to study and theorize learning as it is part of racialized, gendered, and colonized social relations. Work from this perspective can help us develop critically engaged relationships with communities and build tools that can further progressive social movements to respond to the rise of racism, settler colonialism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-semitism, queerphobia, transphobia, ableism and other systems of injustice.

Learning is a critical yet under-developed concept among social movement theorists, movement activists, and community organizers. Understanding learning in social movements can inform how conceptions of justice are co-constructed, how movements are formed, how people learn to participate in social movement tactics and strategies, and how communities change as a result of learning across scales of activity. Recent work in the learning sciences has illuminated the potential, power, and complexities of learning in community organizing and social movements. Given the current global political climate, there is an urgent need for more work that can help learning scientists, teachers, activists, and learners to consider what people learn through activism, how they learn it, how it changes social relations, and how we might use theories of learning to better accomplish work for justice.

We invite papers for this special issue of JLS that come from a variety of theoretical orientations, methodological approaches, and research contexts.

Papers might explore questions including:

  • What are social movements, community organizations, and civic engagement collectivities doing that learning scientists should take seriously? What kinds of learning ecologies do these forms of social action enable and constrain? What might this learning generate in terms of social transformation?
  • How might analysis and theories of learning in social action expand, shift, and/or unsettle learning sciences theory and analysis? How might this rupture serve social change in classrooms, communities, and other spaces?
  • What methodologies may help learning scientists to collaborate deeply with social action groups? How do these methodologies shape the research and the learning that is enabled through our research?
  • How are questions of power made visible in social action contexts, and how do they shape learning in practice? Are relations of
    (in)equity made visible in distinctive ways?
  • What changes when we centre power and politics in our assessment of learning? What futurities are made possible?

Submission Instructions

We are inviting abstracts for proposed papers for the special issue. Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and 150-word author bios. Authors from non-dominant groups (Black authors, Indigenous authors, authors of colour, queer and trans authors, disabled authors, and others), and collaborations with activists are particularly encouraged to submit work to this collection.

Invited articles will be submitted to JLS via ScholarOne as a special issue article and will undergo a full peer review process. Each article must be accepted by an editor-in-chief to be included in the special issue. Invited articles can be a maximum 8000 words and will meet JLS style guidelines.

Abstracts Due: April 15 2019
Invitation to Submit Full Paper Sent to Authors: May 15 2019
Full Papers Due: September 1, 2019
Reviews Returned to Authors: January 2020
Author Revisions Due April 2020
Final Drafts: Due: October 2020

Please send abstracts to the guest editors by April 15, 2019:
Email: ,