Call for papers: Special Issue of Journal of Peace Education on decolonizing peace education, research and practice

Decolonizing peace education, research and practice: Critical reflections on power dynamics and ways of knowing

Call for Papers: Special Issue of Journal of Peace Education

Guest editors: Hakim Mohandas Amani Williams, Jenny Ritchie, Staci Martin, Maria José Bermeo, & Rina Alluri

Hoki whakamuri kia anga whakamua
To advance, know this: Our past is in our future
(Māori proverb)

With our world currently rife with various crises, peace education practitioners and scholars are calling for new ways of conceptualizing and implementing peace education. The Māori proverb cited above speaks to the complexities linking historical roots—including violent and oppressive legacies—with our re-imagining of more sustainable futures built on a critical acknowledging of past injustices. Indigenous knowledges are acknowledging their (hi)stories of struggle, healing their wounds, resisting coloniality while forging a future that reclaims their ancient practices and builds new ones.

Responding to poststructural and postcolonial critiques that question universal, normative, and decontextualized foundational notions about peace and how to attain it, scholars and practitioners have pushed for more critical approaches that center local context and agency to mitigate and transform asymmetrical power relationships that are reified through totalizing discourses and practices. By honing in on context-specific structural inequities to illuminate how localized experiences may shape perceptions of peace, these efforts also acknowledge how these lived experiences engage with global phenomena such as migration, climate change, racism, neoliberal economic policies, and regional and civil wars. Many peace education projects have been firmly centered around decolonial theory and practice, and examined how colonial legacies, both past and present, factor into conceptualizing peace and violence in educational contexts. While education can be a path to a better future, at the same time, education policies, systems, media and curricula are often the by-products and legacies of colonial rule, colonial thinking, or a more recent populist authoritarianism.

With this in mind, and at this juncture in the field, what does it actually mean to engage in decolonial peace education? Embracing diverse–both old and new–knowledge paradigms, relationalities, participatory institutional processes, and equity-minded social structures is imperative for co-creating sustainable futures.

Building on Bryan Brayboy’s concept of “right relations,” this Special Issue of the Journal of Peace Education invites contributions from diverse voices, perspectives, experiences, and research that seek to question and destabilize dynamics of power and dominance. It calls for a critical reconsideration of the epistemic structures of peace education, particularly considering knowledge production and canonized ways of knowing that have hitherto dominated the research and practice landscapes. Epistemologies from multiple cultures around the world can diversify peace education research, policy, and practice toward equity and inclusion, reframe institutional processes and address historical injustices and harm.

We invite abstracts for research articles and other formats, such as poetry or art, that explore these aspects, taking into account the author’s own positionality and a decolonization of self. Contributions may speak to, but not be restricted by, the following subthemes:

  • Critiquing colonial power dynamics in education policy, peace pedagogy and educational practice, drawing on critical peace education and critical pedagogies of place;
  • Deconstructing Whiteness, Eurocentrism, and Amero-centrism in peace education theory, research, and practices and embracing knowledge systems and practices of hitherto marginalized and/or excluded groups;
  • Decolonizing peace research methodologies, with their assumptions and foundations (epistemologies, ontologies, axiologies, teleologies);
  • Examining intersectionality (e.g. aspects of gender, race, class, citizenship, etc.) in the context of decolonizing peace education research, policy, and practice;
  • Decolonizing knowledge production and dissemination, perhaps including a critique of top-down structures emerging from many international organizations; similarly considering critical human rights education, and/or alternatives to UN/internationalist paradigms;
  • Considering sustainability and sustainable peace leadership;
  • Reconsidering understandings of peace and violence in conflict-affected societies;
  • Giving concrete examples of non-Eurocentric epistemologies and pedagogies in practice;
  • Examining the issues involved in replacing secular ethics with localized/Indigenous religious or folk beliefs around ethics in peace education, or justifications for violence;
  • Critiquing the concept and application of the decolonization thesis itself – which pitfalls and ironies present themselves, and who is supposed to be decolonizing what/whom/how?

Please submit an abstract of 200 words and a contributor bio of 100 words to by noon (NZST) of August 30, 2024. This contact can also be used for queries.

We will inform those selected by September 15, 2024, and the deadline for contributions will be January 15, 2025. In accordance with JPE’s rationale, all contributions will go through peer review.

Work submitted should be in English, between 5000 and 9000 words (including references). Please format your contribution in line with the JPE guidelines (link below).

More information on preparing your manuscript for JPE

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