Call for Papers: Radicalizing the Liberal Arts: Confronting Race, Racism, and Power in Small College Settings

Editors: Heather Moore Roberson (Allegheny College) and Sarah Chinn (Hunter College, CUNY).  

Radical Teacher is seeking articles that discuss the intersections between Small Liberal Arts Colleges (SLACs) and movements for racial justice. Some liberal arts colleges are bastions of radical teaching, pedagogy, and commitment to confronting racism and power. Historically, liberal arts colleges have served as spaces of specialized learning and innovative pedagogy, which can extend towards the pedagogy of racial liberation.  Some small liberal arts colleges have created academic centers that articulate their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice both on and off campus, such as the Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education at Berea College.

On the one hand, some liberal arts colleges are touted as meaningful educational spaces where students can explore the Humanities and Social Sciences more broadly. Undergraduate students (and even college faculty) select liberal arts settings due to the intimate classroom settings, the collegiality between faculty and students, and even opportunities for collaborative faculty-student research. And even inside small college classrooms, many faculty work tirelessly to explore, question, and deconstruct racism and power in intimate, discursive settings.  On the other hand, SLACs are still part of an elitist structure of higher education that are heavily populated by white, wealthy perspectives.  Discourse about race, racism, and power are often framed within college settings that have very little racial/ethnic diversity within the student body and even amongst the faculty/administrators/staff.

This special issue considers the ways that faculty/students/administrators/staff at small liberal arts colleges participate in conversations about race, racism, and power in the Western world. The special issue will consider the following questions: In what ways do faculty and students uniquely confront race, racism, and power in small college settings? Are faculty/students/staff in liberal arts settings given more academic freedom and flexibility to critique various systems of power? How do the political investments of SLACs interact with their often elite status?

Potential Topics Like all articles in Radical Teacher, this special issue welcomes “inquiries and ideas for articles from people actively engaged in progressive education.” The authors of this special issue welcome scholarship that interrogates radical pedagogy on race, racism and power from a variety of vantage points. Potential topics or themes may include: 

·       Impact of COVID on social justice efforts at SLACs

·       Race, Racism and the Critique of Neoliberalism at Liberal Arts Colleges

·       Negotiating elite spaces from antiracist perspectives

• Antiracist pedagogy in Liberal Arts Colleges

• Interdisciplinary initiatives that critique racism and power: successes and challenges

•  Going into the world: co- and extracurricular antiracist initiatives

• Student, Staff, Faculty Collaborations in interdisciplinary Centers and Institutes 

• Service Learning or Community Engagement 


Submission and Timeline Please submit a 4,000-6,000 word manuscript to radicalteacher.library.pitt.edu by December 15th, 2020. Submissions must be written in 12- point font, and use a consistent citation format (e.g. MLA, APA, Chicago). Anticipated date of publication is Fall 2021.