Call for Papers: "Insubordinate Space"

Special Issue: "Insubordinate Space" Submission deadline: July 31, 2022

For KALFOU’s 10th anniversary volume we seek to create a discussion about the meaning of
political education in the context of deradicalization. Focused on social movements, social
institutions, and social relations, the journal was founded as an “insubordinate space” to
connect the specialized knowledge produced in academe to the situated knowledge generated
in aggrieved communities. Accordingly, we invite submissions from scholars, artists, teachers,
and activists exploring how sites of political education are created, undermined, and defended.
We seek instantiations of possibility, accompaniment, and improvisation that call out forces of
coercion and domination and call in opportunities for collaboration and transformation.

It is widely recognized that the university system, in all its formations, has participated in
deradicalizing movements calling for social and political change. Disciplining, through the
apparatus of formal education, occurs through such means as the seizure and control of space,
the funding and legitimation of what counts as knowledge, and the conception of who belongs
and has access to the site and products of scholarship. Even the language of ostensible
inclusion—“underrepresented,” “first generation,” “low-income”—masks historical exclusion,
extraction, and exploitation. Despite important analyses and interventions about the
university’s role in deradicalization, we may still be surprised by the stunning adaptability of
“incorporation” as a technology of coercive power.

Even the struggles to face up to what’s killing us are often short-circuited by real and imagined
threats of cancellation that promote inertia, compromise, and reform. In formal education
sites, we still operate under a feudalist labor model due to the imposition of neoliberal forms of
governance. What is to be done if “seat-at-the-table” politics have replaced necessary critiques
of traditional educational structures, institutions, and outcomes? If so-called “race and/or
gender politics” are predicated on group loyalty or inclusion, how do we challenge authority
when its representatives trace their “roots” to racialized or subordinated communities? How
did our critique of meritocracy become its embrace through “professionalization” as a way to
legitimate our positions? How do we remain astute critics of oppressive structures when the
path to advancement incentivizes us to capitulate to “safe” perspectives?

The struggle over the meaning of “political education” persists in the context of incorporation
and deradicalization. Political education is not a means unto itself, but a path towards a
concrete goal of transformation. Knowledge emerging from anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal,
anti-imperialist, and decolonial mobilizations has occupied a central role in the debates over
formal education and thus in responding to the logics of deradicalization, incorporation, and
reformism. The guiding questions posed by Freedom School’s political education practices
remain instructive: Why are we (students and teachers) in Freedom School; what is the
freedom movement; what does the majority culture have that we want and don’t want; what
do we have that we want to keep?

KALFOU is excited to engage your submissions in, but not limited to, the following areas:

“Feature Articles”
o Essay submissions responding to any aspect or theme from the current CFP:
“Insubordinate Space”
o Reflections on KALFOU’s 10-year history
o Histories of the complex relationships between social movements and academic
spaces, and how ideas, practices, and bodies move within and between
educational and activist sites
o Analyses of the shifting definitions of “political education” in the context of
o Moving away from “1st generation” dominant discourses to exposing patterns of

“Keywords” – Phrases, terms, and concepts that emerge from activism:
o Radical vocabularies emerging from current activism
o The technologies of incorporation, co-optation, and capture of radical
o The congealing of keywords into commodities, brands, and slogans under
neoliberal exigencies
o Persistent and ungovernable articulations – unruly desires and terms
o The incorporation or incantation of the land acknowledgement in the absence of
discussions about reparations to Indigenous people

“La mesa popular” – Reports from the field about ongoing activism:
o Reports from the field in contestation of deradicalization efforts at educational
sites (for examples, struggles against transphobic and homophobic school
policies, book banning, and eradicating Critical Race Theory; struggle for Ethnic
Studies curriculum)
o Specific campaigns that reimagine education (for example, CopsOffCampus and
other mobilizations to end educational contracts with police and policing
o Articulating labor, decolonial, and antiracist struggles together (adjunctification,
student labor, and insubordinate space in the “gig economy”)

“Art and Social Action” – Analyses of works of expressive culture that function as
repositories of collective memory, sites of moral instruction, and mechanisms for calling
communities into being through performance:
o Expressive culture in the context of commodification and cooptation
o Performance Studies and political education
o Art practice as process

“Mobilized 4 Movement” – Reflections on social movements and how their participants
see themselves and their work:
o Unlikely alliances
o Transnational, interethnic conflict and collaboration
o Learning from and with political prisoners and efforts towards their total

“Teaching and Truth” – First-person testimony from classroom teachers:
o Methodologies, practices, and care given increasing violence and vulnerability
o De-romanticizing teaching as activism (in formal education, prisons, and community
spaces); challenging liberal humanist claims to education
o What are the economic and ideological incentives that compel our commitments to
the institution of education and/or the practice of political education?

“In Memoriam” – Acknowledgment of and tribute to the work of departed comrades
and colleagues:
o Life expectancy for women and LGBTQIA people of color and radical scholars in and
outside of the academy (what are the conditions within academe that contribute to
premature death and the conditions confronting organizers and activists in the
o What conditions do we imagine for their homegoing and our survivance? How do we
live and learn?

Submission Guidelines
Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies welcomes your ongoing
submissions and engagement. Kalfou is a scholarly journal focused on social movements, social
institutions, and social relations. We seek to build links among intellectuals, artists, and activists
in shared struggles for social justice. The journal seeks to promote the development of
community-based scholarship in ethnic studies among humanists and social scientists and to
connect the specialized knowledge produced in academe to the situated knowledge generated
in aggrieved communities.

We invite articles that address asymmetries of power, social justice, new ways of knowing, and
new ways of being. We aim to illuminate the distribution of opportunities and life chances
inside communities of color in the past, present, and future; to focus on the roles played by the
state, capital, social structures, and social movements in promoting or suppressing social
justice; to offer a platform for discussing the struggles, problems, dreams, and hopes
embedded inside anti-racist work.

Each issue includes sections on social movement strategies and keywords, artists and social
action, and concrete struggles for resources, rights, recognition, and dignity.

Contributors’ names should appear on a separate title page so that manuscripts can be
evaluated anonymously. Submissions should be 5-10k words, including citations, and should
follow The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).

Submit manuscripts via e-mail attachment in Word format to:

Submissions should also include:
• A brief contributor biography (2–3 sentences)
• Separate files for artwork – not embedded in the manuscript file
• For each illustration, either a black-and-white version alone or both a black-and-white
version and a color version (black and white for the print edition and color for the
electronic edition); 1200-dpi-minimum resolution for line art, 300-dpi-minimum
resolution for all other art
• Separate files for tables – not embedded in the manuscript file
• Captions/titles and placement instructions for all artwork and tables
• All copyright/credit/source information, including prior publication and any
• An abstract