CFP [Due – Oct 7]: Studies in Social Justice Double Issue

Special Double Issue of Studies in Social Justice | Scholarship and Activism

Guest Editors: Sandra Smeltzer (Western University, Canada) and Sara Cantillon (University College Dublin, Ireland)

As part of our mission to promote scholarship and mobilize knowledge related to pressing social justice issues, the Social Justice Research Institute has assumed management of the journal Studies in Social Justice.

The journal’s first (double) issue at its new home in SJRI will be devoted to the theme of “Scholarship and Activism.” Please see the Call for Papers below for further information about how to submit proposals.

For other information about the journal, please see the journal website or contact the managing editor, David Butz.

Summary of Topic

This special double issue of Studies in Social Justice aims to critically explore the relationship between scholarship and activism – the rewards and challenges, successes and drawbacks of pursuing activist endeavours both inside and outside the university. Specifically, the double issue will examine the ways in which Canadian and Irish academics negotiate their pedagogical and research obligations with a commitment to social justice.

In the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, institutions of higher education have increasingly felt the brunt of financial cutbacks. Most academics are witnessing greater corporatization on their campuses, the casualization of scholarly labour, and a more fervent pressure by administrations to demonstrate teaching ‘outputs’ and monetizable research ‘inputs’ (see, as examples, Bailey and Freedman 2011; Hanke and Hearn 2012; Raunig 2013; Slaughter and Rhoades 2004; Tuchman 2011). When combined with family and other personal obligations, the publish or perish demands of faculty positions mean that a commitment to “outreach, engagement, and community service” is often difficult to sustain (Bok 2009; Dempsey et al. 2011; Few et al. 2007; Forbes et al. 2008; hooks 1994; Napoli and Aslama 2011; Rodino-Colocino 2012; Smeltzer 2012; Ward 2005, 219). Nevertheless, scholars at all levels of the tiered academic system continue to engage in myriad forms of activism on campus and within their respective local, regional, and international communities (Flood, Martin, and Dreher 2013). Indeed, given the conditions of neoliberalism and the educational and societal repercussions of a deteriorating welfare state, many scholars feel a stronger pull than ever to engage in activism that aims to make a difference in the lives of others.

Key questions to be addressed in the double issue include: How much time and energy should academics dedicate to being an activist? Is it more effective to foment change from within ‘the system’ or outside of it? Should the worlds of academe and activism be mutually exclusive? How feasible or legitimate is it to publish material related to one’s activism? In what ways can and should one’s activism inform and influence one’s pedagogy? Is being an activist a political liability in terms of employment, promotion, funding, and intellectual freedom? Is activism being co-opted by educational institutions under the aegis of public or community engagement?

The objective is to generate a dialogue between Canadian and Irish academics to bring into focus trends shared by the two countries, and a means of gaining greater insight into potentially unique circumstances in each locale. Given that negotiating the academic-activist relationship is personal, contextualized, and contingent on a range of factors, article submissions should be theoretically driven as well as self-reflective. To this end, we invite articles from academics negotiating activism both inside and outside the university on issues including, but not limited to, the following:

  • key theoretical concepts for interrogating activist scholarship
  • the role of the academic and institutions of higher education
  • activism by, and about, precarious academic labour
  • neoliberalism, managerial corporatization, and branding in higher education
  • the production of meaning; discourse analysis of activist scholarship
  • representations of activist academics in the academy and in media
  • historical perspectives on activist scholarship
  • the ethics of local and international activist scholarship
  • critical service learning as activism
  • gender and activist scholarship
  • policy work and advocacy as activism
  • case studies or critical and contextualized biographical accounts of activist scholarship

To facilitate a wide spectrum of perspectives regarding activism and scholarship in Canada and Ireland, we welcome submissions from a range of institutions, disciplines, viewpoints, and topics.


This is to be a special double issue edition of the journal with contributions from both Canadian and Irish academics. Articles should be approximately 5,000 words in length (not including references).

Publishing Schedule

  • October 7, 2014: deadline for proposals (350-500 word abstract)
  • November 7, 2014: notification of acceptance
  • February 15, 2015: deadline for first drafts (articles are subject to a double blind peer review process)
  • March 25, 2015: editorial feedback provided
  • April 15, 2015: final drafts submitted
  • Early summer 2015: publication of first issue
  • Late summer 2015: publication of second issue

Please send queries and abstract proposals (including title, abstract of 350-500 words, authors’ affiliations, contact data, and brief biographical notes) via email to both guest editors:

Dr. Sandra Smeltzer
Faculty of Information and Media Studies
The University of Western Ontario
519-661-2111, ext. 86112

Dr. Sara Cantillon
School of Social Justice
University College Dublin

About the Journal

Studies in Social Justice publishes articles on issues dealing with the social, cultural, economic, political, and philosophical problems associated with the struggle for social justice. This interdisciplinary journal aims to publish work that links theory to social change and the analysis of substantive issues. The journal welcomes heterodox contributions that are critical of established paradigms of inquiry.

The journal focuses on debates that move beyond conventional notions of social justice, and views social justice as a critical concept that is integral in the analysis of policy formation, rights, participation, social movements, and transformations. Social justice is analysed in the context of processes involving nationalism, social and public policy, globalization, diasporas, culture, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, welfare, poverty, war, and other social phenomena. It endeavours to cover questions and debates ranging from governance to democracy, sustainable environments, and human rights, and to introduce new work on pressing issues of social justice throughout the world.

Comments are closed.