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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Teaching in Higher Education

For a Special Issue on
Higher Education Teaching of Environmentally Just Sustainability

Abstract deadline
30 April 2022

Manuscript deadline
31 October 2022

Cover image - Teaching in Higher Education

Special Issue Editor(s)

Greg William Misiaszek, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China; Paulo Freire Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
[email protected]

Cae Rodrigues, Federal University of Sergipe, São Cristóvão, Brazil
[email protected]

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Higher Education Teaching of Environmentally Just Sustainability

For this special issue (SI) of Teaching in Higher Education we invite articles that critically analyze the roles of higher education (HE) teaching in achieving environmentally just sustainability. HE institutions (HEI) are potential sites of teaching environmental (un)sustainability within classrooms which have curricula that might focus on the topic directly or indirectly. Teaching environmental (un)sustainability is inseparable from local-to-global politics of HE’s other roles as sites of, for example, knowledge production and legitimization, economics, labor, activism, (in)exclusive of community landscapes, and various other functions. Critically problematizing the complex and often contesting roles of HE as helping or hindering environmentally sustainable praxis to emerge from teaching is this SI’s focus. Below we give some key tenets of “environmental sustainability” guiding this SI, followed by some possible themes for articles.

Environmental sustainability and “development”

“Environmental sustainability” in this SI refers to achieving socio-environmental justice with planetary sustainability that includes and is also beyond the anthroposphere (i.e., Nature beyond humans) (Gadotti, 2008a, 2008b; Gutiérrez & Prado, 1989; Misiaszek, 2020a). The focus on socio-environmental justice includes acknowledgement that environmental and social violence are inseparable spheres/scapes. Within this context, “development” is acknowledged as innately essential in HE teaching (environmental) sustainability, as the term “sustainable development” is abundantly touted as a universal goal; however, these terms are too infrequently read critically to deconstruct the underlying goals (Misiaszek, 2020b). HE teaching of these concepts calls for numerous questions to be problematized. Does our teaching instill the prioritizing of certain populations’ development aligning with sociohistorical oppressions (e.g., racism, (neo)coloniality, patriarchy, heteronormativity)? Or, opposingly, counter development on the backs of the othered’s de-development? What are the metrics and benchmarks of development largely being taught, and how do they speak to the question of “what is in it for Nature” (Rodrigues & Lowan-Trudeau, 2021)? For example, if development is grounded in economics, is it being taught through neoliberalism or through economic justice, labor justice, and/or environmental sustainability framings, among others?

Essential to sustainability (with or without the adjective “environmental”) is our actions to align with the wellbeing for all that makes up Earth (i.e., all of Nature). Questioning how HE teaching of sustainability, with or without “development,” views Nature-human relations is key. This includes questioning how ideological teaching of Nature and development in HE leads to praxis of students’ (un)sustainable actions. Unpacking how theory-practice gaps (or “chasms”) persist in HE teaching is essential to better understand the challenges and possibilities of environmental sustainable actions to emerge from HE classrooms (see Payne, 2020).

Other crucial limits/challenges are set by epistemologies in HE teaching. What epistemological groundings are frequently present or absent in HE teaching (un)sustainability for “development” coincides, in part, with Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2018) arguments that teaching rooted in epistemologies of the North (grounded in coloniality, patriarchy, and capitalism) form disciplinary, theoretical, and pedagogical absences that do not allow for praxis for globally all-inclusive justice and planetary sustainability to emerge from (HE) pedagogies. Beyond (or alongside) North-South issues in HE teaching epistemologies (Payne & Rodrigues, 2012), teaching through planetary lenses (e.g., humans as part of, rather than separate from, Nature), and/or anthropocentric lenses (e.g., humans as superior distinctiveness in relation to the rest of Nature) calls into probing, in a more general sense, what epistemology(ies) is sustainability being taught through or not in HE settings.

Examples of article themes

We envision the SI authors to problematize the roles of HE teaching in similar themes as in the following list of critical framings and aspects of environmental sustainability. Please note that it is far from an exhaustive list of possible themes.

  • HE pedagogical differences and commonalities
    • environmental pedagogies (e.g., environmental education (EE), education for sustainable development (ESD), ecopedagogies)
    • (dis)encouraging transdisciplinarity, whole-curricula approaches, action/praxis-based, dialectic and problem-posing, Indigenous/global Southern emergences, planetarism rather than anthropocentrism
  • Roles of HEIs in teaching environmental sustainability
    • as sites of activism emergent (in)directly from HE teaching
    • countering false public pedagogies leading to unsustainability (e.g., post-truthism), including within our postdigital world
    • as sites of (un)sustainability
    • constructing and influencing teacher education, including HE-led/facilitated continuing professional learning and development
  • Globalization affecting HE sustainability teaching
    • Comparing HE sustainability pedagogies between the global South and North (i.e., South-to-North and/or North-to-South lending and borrowing)
    • Northern and/or Southern epistemological groundings of teaching “sustainability” and “development”
    • (Dis)connections to global sustainability initiatives (e.g., global/planetary citizenship, peace education, UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)) and the critically problematizing such initiatives
    • Neoliberal globalization that effects, for example, graduate research and supervision, ideological teachings of (de-)development and baselines of sustainability, and/or HEIs’ strategic planning at various levels that influences teaching
    • Possibilities of globalization from below

Guest Editors

Greg William Misiaszek, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, [email protected]

Cae Rodrigues, Federal University of Sergipe, São Cristóvão, Brazil, [email protected]

Submission Instructions

TiHE Scope and Aims

Accepted articles must be aligned with TiHE’s aims and scope.

Points of Departure articles option

As well as research articles and conceptual pieces, we also welcome shorter articles as part of our ‘Points for Departure’ section of the journal.

Submission instructions

Potential authors are asked to submit their extended abstracts of up to 700 words by 5pm GMT on April 30, 2022. Abstracts should provide an outline of the proposed paper, including its empirical, theoretical and/or philosophical basis, originality, and its importance within teaching in higher education specifically. We actively welcome abstracts which target the themes of the call from across the globe and from a range of disciplines.

Abstracts should be submitted online here.

Authors having accepted abstracts at this first stage will be asked for extended abstracts (1,500 words or less) by the end of June as a second stage. Full manuscripts will have the deadline October 31, 2022 (via the journal’s online submission system, 7000 words excluding bibliography) for those accepted at both stages.

Overview of the Submission Process

  • Stage 1 (April 30, 2022): abstract - 700 words
  • Stage 2 (June 30, 2022): extended abstract - 1500 words (this would be by invitation after Stage 1)
  • Stage 3 (October 31, 2022): full submission via ScholarOne which is 7000 words excluding bibliography

Extended abstracts will not be requested for Points of Departure abstract submissions.

The special issue will be published in Summer 2023.

For advice on submitting a paper, please also see: https://teachinginhighereducation.wordpress.com/seven-questions-for-potential-authors-how-to-get-published-in-teaching-in-higher-education/

Instructions for Authors

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