CfP for a Gender and Education Journal Special Issue: Decolonizing Gender and Education Research

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Gender and Education

Decolonizing Gender and Education Research: Exploring the Relationship Between Feminist Research on Education and Decolonizing, Indigenous Knowledges and Cosmologies

Special Issue Guest Editors: Caroline Manion & Payal Shah

Critical scholars across a variety of disciplines and geographic areas express the need to engage in intellectual projects that shift the dominant epistemic perspectives and

methodologies used in traditional research (Abu-Lughud 1991; Narayan 1993; Takayama 2011; Smith 2012). Feminist research has had a longstanding commitment of epistemically, theoretically, and methodologically interrogating issues of power and difference with the goal of emancipating women (Benhabib et al. 1995; Fraser 1989). Similarly, decolonizing research seeks to explicitly address colonial structures of knowledge production and the representation of marginalized and indigenous populations. Both feminist and decolonizing research challenge traditional hierarchies of knowledge and incorporate the scholarship and perspectives of non-Western, nondominant scholars to challenge the traditional self-other distinction (Abu-Lughud 1991; Lincoln and Gonzalez 2008; Smith 2012).

This special issue seeks to explore the intersection and overlap between feminist and

decolonizing research. Our goal is to bring together and showcase high quality and

intellectually provocative papers that theoretically and empirically interrogate why research at the nexus of gender and education needs to be ‘decolonized’, and which illuminate what this means and what it looks like. Additionally, we will welcome suitable papers that address the lineages of critique that shape the practice and underlying theory of decolonizing and feminist research today.

Epistemologically, this issue seeks to make visible and problematize the dominant positioning of the West as the central frame of reference in much social research. Thus, we seek to highlight scholarship that questions the concepts of culture, nation, and difference to challenge the binary logics and essentialism that have long underpinned their articulations across scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. In this special issue, we draw from scholars such as Atlas and Dei, who name and contest this ‘academic neocoloniality’ and “challenge imperial ideologies and colonial relations of knowledge production” (as cited in Takayama 2011, 450).

This decolonizing epistemological orientation is complementary to a critical feminist

epistemology where one goal is to reveal the participants’ lived realities deeply

contextualized in their socio-cultural milieu (Benhabib, 1987; El Saadawi, 1997). This

reflexive lens pushes researchers to reflect upon and gain better insight into the complex intersectionalities that constitute the lives of their participants (Benhabib et al. 1995; Fraser 1989). Such an orientation can also reposition how researchers engage with the subjectivities and representations of participants who are considered “marginalized” by dominant discourses.

We seek to include papers that engage broadly with research at the intersection of

decolonizing and feminist research in education. We seek papers that make both theoretical as well as empirical contributions across a variety of fields including but not limited to: comparative education, geography, cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, women’s and gender studies, etc. Given the nature of the topic, papers that illuminate trans-disciplinary and intersectional perspectives on gender and education would be especially welcome. We are also interested in papers that interrogate and innovate research methods from decolonizing and feminist epistemological perspectives. Aligning with the overarching decolonizing ethos of the Special Issue, our goal is to include a diverse range of contributions from new as well as more seasoned scholars and practitioners from the Global South and Global North.

Contributions might address the following topics:

  • Comparative pieces that methodologically and theoretically challenge the colonial binary between Western and non-Western scholarship supporting the essentialist terms of Orientalist constructions, where a “rigid sense of difference” is based on representations of culture or nations as the base of comparison.
  • Pieces that challenge the traditional academic knowledge production and circulation process and illuminate research from non-Western, non-English speaking ‘peripheries’.
  • Articles that illuminate scholarship that interprets and shares the narratives of their participants in ways that emphasize their agency and strength and not in ways that reinforce their marginalization.
  • Exploration of the contributions and applications of decolonizing and anticolonial approaches in education research and practice.
  • Debates concerning the significance of value pluralism, difference and power in transnational feminist education research and advocacy.
  • Examples or case studies that reveal the opportunities and challenges for productively engaging and working across diverse Western and Indigenous feminisms and subjectivities in education research, policy and practice.
  • Possibilities for applying intersectionality theory in decolonizing and anticolonial feminist research in education.
  • Identity and the politics of decolonizing feminist research in education.
  • Collaboration and alliance-building in the context of decolonizing feminist research in education.
  • Embodied knowledge and decolonizing feminist research approaches.
  • Explorations of the contributions of non-dominant and Indigenous knowledge production and application in the context of decolonizing education research and practice.

Proposals should be for original works not previously published (including in conference proceedings) and that are not currently under consideration for another journal or edited collection. 350-500 word abstracts should be emailed to Caroline Manion or Payal Shah by 1 October 2017.

Formats for proposals include full-length papers (5000-8000 words) or viewpoint pieces (3000-5000 words). The guest editors are happy to discuss ideas prior to the deadline.

We anticipate that the special issue will appear in print in October 2018.

Abstracts and queries should be sent to: Caroline Manion, OISE, University of Toronto, Canada ( or Payal Shah, University of South Carolina (


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