Call for Papers: Teaching About Capitalism, War, and Empire

In his prophetic 1961 farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously cautioned “against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” By 1964, he additionally admonished the American quest for absolute security as one that would “eventually end only in national bankruptcy,” both economic and moral. Nearly 60 years later, Eisenhower’s warnings continue to matter, as do the analyses of critics who have, time and again, demonstrated that the American military establishment and corporations that receive public funding to develop technological systems and markets for American expansion have created a permanent war economy that allows the U.S. government to socialize the risks and privatize the profits of the military-industrial-surveillance-prison complex while simultaneously granting corporate capital undue influence over domestic and foreign policy.

Readers of Radical Teacher know that the U.S. has been at war in Afghanistan for 17 years and may know that it is officially at war in six other countries (Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Niger); that it has more than 400,000 troops stationed on over 800 bases in 70 countries; that last year its drones killed hundreds of suspected terrorists and many civilians; that its 2018 military expenses ran to nearly $900 billion. We (or you) could go on with more “holy cow” numbers along these lines. But how many of our students know the scale of the endless war announced by George W. Bush at the outset of this century? How many of our fellow citizens? How many know that our military expenses are higher now than during the Cold War? What difference would it make if citizens and students did know, think, and talk a lot more about U.S. empire?  

This special issue of Radical Teacher on teaching about capitalism, war, and empire seeks contributions from progressive educators who are using pedagogical innovations to help students, many of whom do not remember a world without permanent war, to connect the dots between the interests of capitalism’s global elite, corporate lobbyists, government spending, military contractors, increased wealth and income inequality, processes of racialization, and the militarization and surveillance of everyday life; the military on campus, and so on. As well, we want to know how radical educators are teaching resistance to empire—past, present, and future. Potential topics include:


  • Teaching from a radical perspective about the U.S. empire and imperialism, past and present

  • About how capital supports militarism and war

  • About the culture of permanent war: empire in the media, in politics, in public language, etc.

  • About how corporate influence shapes that culture, for instance: 

    •  Racialized violence, the militarization of policing, mass incarceration, and permanent war

    • The history, technologies, and strategies of domestic (and foreign) surveillance

    • The border as a battlefront; immigrants as invaders

    • Teaching historically about universities in the corporate-war-police state

  • About the militarizing of daily life, including life on campus (e.g., military academies, R.O.T.C., military recruitment, research)

  • About gender and gendering in a time of permanent war 

  • About peace and anti-war movements; the long history of resistance to empire(s)

  • About and connecting with campus resistance to war, empire, and militarism

Inquiries should be addressed to Joseph Entin (jentin@brooklyn.cuny.edu), Jocelyn Wills (jwills@brooklyn.cuny.edu), and Richard Ohmann (richardohmann4@gmail.com). Complete manuscripts due October 1, 2019.

Radical Teacher, founded in 1975, is a socialist, feminist, and anti-racist journal dedicated to the theory and practice of teaching. It serves the community of educators who are working for democratic process, peace, and justice. The magazine examines the root causes of inequality and promotes progressive social change. We publish articles on classroom practices and curriculum, as well as on educational issues related to gender and sexuality, disability, culture, globalization, privatization, race, class, and other similar topics. Radical Teacher is a peer-reviewed journal.

Radical Teacher articles are typically 4,000 -- 6,000 words, though we consider shorter or longer submissions. To submit a manuscript, register on the journal’s publication site: 

http://radicalteacher.library.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/radicalteacher/login

Complete submission guidelines can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uScIA6SQUdTHdVYQ8eY8J_CvoYZBjEbVaDFr519uUx8/edit?usp=sharing