Portals to Black Futures in Education - Call for Papers 

Special Issue for the Journal of Futures Studies

Image: Olalekan Jeyifous (Anarchonauts 2125)

Special Editors: 

Maisha T. Winn, Chancellor’s Leadership Professor, University of California, Davis

Maisie Gholson, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan


In this proposed issue of the Journal of Future Studies, contributors engage the question, “What is the future of Black education?” through a series of forecasts and essays from the perspectives of philosophers, artists, designers, futurists, and education researchers. In many ways the intersection of the spread of COVID-19 and the trilogy of murders (Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor) spurring a new anti-racism movement are exposing histories and futures that multiply-marginalized people were already living with and that many white cis-gender people were surprised to learn. Therefore, the fissures have exposed how the lack of access to high quality teaching and learning have rendered many Black children dispossessed of desirable futures. 

Davis (2012) argues that racism, racist ideas have, indeed disrupted the futures of Black children or contributed to “the rearing of generations of Black people who are now not in possession of the education and imagination that allows them to envision the future” (p. 89). We chose “Black education” because we wish to acknowledge the alternative and supplementary teaching and learning spaces that people of African descent have created and sustained in the absence of school systems failing to acknowledge their full humanity. 

Accordingly, this special issue assembles freedom dreams in the service of Black children within Afrofuturist aesthetics and traditions with different assumptions about the permanence of racism in shaping educational futures. Such purposeful play is intended to speculate about fugitivity and abolition as a continuation of Black educational histories, as well as develop sociotechnical imaginaries as suggested by Ruha Benjamin that reconfigure social relations in Black children’s future worlds. Therefore, the contributors look back to look forward and consider their work to be the culmination of when histories and futures meet using forecasts and essays.  


This special issue is seeking essays and research papers. 

  • Essays will be between 3000-4000 words in lengths   
  • Research papers will be between 4000-8000 words in lengths   

Papers should refer to materials published in this journal and in the other journals in the futures field (Journal of Futures Studies, Futures, Foresight, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, The European Journal of Futures Research, World Future Review, On the Horizon) as well as futures material contained in books, monographs, other field related journals. Submitting authors, please refer to the journals submission guidelines: 

Key dates 

  • Acceptance of proposals - by May 10, 2021
  • Drafts of papers are - due August 1, 2021
  • Papers will be reviewed - by Sept 1, 2021
  • Final papers with changes to be submitted - by Oct 1, 2021
  • Expected publication date, Dec 30, 2021

Please send initial proposals to: 

Maisha T. Winn, 

Maisie Gholson, 


Editor Bios:

Dr. Maisha T. Winn is the Associate Dean and Chancellor’s Leadership Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Davis where she co-founded and co-directs (with Dr. Lawrence “Torry” Winn) the Transformative Justice in Education (TJE) Center. Much of Professor Winn’s early scholarship examines how young people create literate identities through performing literacy and how teachers who  are “practitioners of the craft” serve as “soul models” to emerging writers. Most recently, she has examined how restorative justice theory can be leveraged to teach across disciplines using a future focused framework or the Transformative Justice Teacher Education Framework. She is the author of several books including Writing in Rhythm: Spoken word poetry in urban schools (published under maiden name “Fisher”); Black literate lives: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (published under maiden name “Fisher”); Girl Time: Literacy, Justice, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline; and co-editor of Humanizing Research: Decolonizing Qualitative Research (with Django Paris).  She has two new books, Justice on Both Sides: Transforming Education through Restorative Justice (Harvard Education Press) and Restorative Justice in the English Language Arts Classroom (with Hannah Graham and Rita Alfred on National Council of Teachers of English Principles in Practice Series). She is also the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals including Review of Research in Education; Anthropology and Education Quarterly; International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education; Race, Ethnicity and Education; Research in the Teaching of English; Race and Social Problems; and Harvard Educational Review.
Dr. Maisie Gholson is an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Michigan. Her program of research examines how identities are inextricably linked to mathematics with a keen interest in peer relationships and networks. She has published in the Theory into Practice, Review of Research in Education and the Journal of Education. She is a former high school mathematics teacher who studied electrical engineering at Duke University.
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