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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Curriculum Inquiry

For a Special Issue on

Are We Ready for School Abolition? Abolition as Educational Praxis

Manuscript deadline
02 October 2023

Cover image - Curriculum Inquiry

Special Issue Editor(s)

Qui Alexander, OISE, University of Toronto
[email protected]

Gabrielle Warren, OISE, University of Toronto
[email protected]

Arlo Kempf, OISE, University of Toronto
[email protected]

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Are We Ready for School Abolition? Abolition as Educational Praxis

What is, so to speak, the object of abolition? Not so much the abolition of prisons but the abolition of a society that could have prisons ... therefore not abolition as the elimination of anything but abolition as the founding of a new society. (Harney & Moten, 2013, p. 42)

What if abolition isn't a shattering thing, not a crashing thing, not a wrecking ball event? ... What if abolition is something that grows? (Gumbs, 2008, p. 145)

In 2018, educational scholar David Stovall asked the question, “are we ready for school abolition?” Applied to schools, Harney and Moten’s (2013)  comments on prison abolition may push us even further, to imagine the abolition of societies that have produced, reproduced, and relied upon schools to
sustain and refine colonialism and white supremacy. Five years later, after both a global pandemic and worldwide uprisings against anti-Black state violence, as well as economic precarity, we return to this potent question with new curiosity.

Demands to defund the police, remove police from school campuses, and dismantle the prison industrial complex are increasingly part of mainstream discourse. Against this backdrop, a full accounting of the ways in which calls and demands for abolition in education might be taken up is needed. In this special issue we take up abolition as an educational praxis.

Abolitionist scholar Dylan Rodriguez (2019) defines abolitionist praxis as a “fundamental critique of existing systems of oppression while attempting to actively imagine as it practices forms of collective power that are liberated from hegemonic paradigms” (p. 1612). Abolitionist praxis is both a critical
analysis of systems of power and practices of collectivity that work to integrate abolitionist theories into one’s everyday life as a world-making practice. What can a framework of abolitionist praxis offer education? How might we use abolitionist theories and/or practices to push forward educational
research, curriculum studies, and pedagogical practice?

The work of defunding and dismantling public education has been well underway for over a quarter century in Canada and the US. From pre-K to post-secondary, the public spaces of state schooling have been radically expanded in terms of responsibility and inversely contracted in terms of relative
available resources with which to support teaching and learning.

In this light, defunding, dismantling, and (re)building is already upon us. Indeed, the common misconception (and misdirection) that abolition represents unimaginable destruction, rather than unprecedented creation, eclipses the ways in which 21st century racial capitalism is busy both tearing
down an already contracted commons and simultaneously reconstructing a carceral commons in education and beyond. As we engage Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s call of changing everything, we are also reminded of Octavia Butler’s (1993/2019) creative engagements with change as constant, everywhere,
all the time, everything, and permanent. Thinking about relations between humans and non-humans, land and waters, power and death, begs the question what changes, by whom, and for what?

In this issue, we seek to materialize abolition as life in rehearsal in the field of curriculum studies and education at large. By disrupting form, space, and place, we hope to explore life-giving pedagogical movements towards an otherwise future. At the juncture of this current moment, we return to the
question – are we ready for “school” abolition?

We invite you to join us in working through the following areas of inquiry and praxis in an attempt to foreground new ways of being in education. We invite (and incite) contributors to share work that:
● Articulates abolition in a variety of traditional and non-traditional educational contexts (including methodological, practical, and theoretical engagements)
● Explores relationships between current social conditions and abolitionist possibilities, futures, and futurities
● Grapples with the abolition of schooling (including the dismantling of schools, the distinction between education and schools, and the reconceptualizing collective learning in public space)
● Situates education within the larger context of the carceral state (including the school to prison nexus, learn lessons, contradictions and tensions of prison abolitionist movements)
● Engages possibilities of radical care within abolitionist work in education (including mutual aid, relationality, ways of being otherwise, radical love)

We invite community organizers, activists, academics, artists, graduate students, and others engaged in abolitionist praxis to submit their work to this special issue of Curriculum Inquiry. We are interested in both non-academic and academic engagements, including but not limited to personal narratives,
(critical) auto-ethnographies, community praxis, liberatory pedagogical accounts of teaching and learning in and out of schools, poetics, poetry, visionary fiction, cartographies, geographies, and other life-giving praxes. Let’s freedom dream together.

Submission Instructions

Deadline for Full Manuscript Submissions: October 2, 2023

Submission Guidelines:

Full academic article manuscript: Full academic article manuscript submissions for this special issue should be between 4000 and 5000 words, excluding references and notes. Submissions in other formats can vary in length.
Cover letter: In addition to following the CI guidelines (http://www.curriculuminquiry.org/information-for-authors/), all submissions should include a brief cover letter indicating the ways in which the submission responds to and/or addresses the call for papers.

All manuscripts submitted to Curriculum Inquiry are subjected to a preliminary internal review by the guest editors and the editorial team, and those deemed appropriate for publication in the journal will be sent anonymously to external reviewers.

Please contact the Curriculum Inquiry editorial office at [email protected] if there are any questions regarding the special issue or submission processes prior to the deadline for submission to the Curriculum Inquiry portal.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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