Call for proposals: Handbook of Critical Participatory Inquiry

CALL FOR CHAPTER PROPOSALS: The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Participatory Inquiry in Transnational Research Contexts

Proposal Submission Deadline: August 30, 2021


Meagan Call-Cummings, George Mason University

Melissa Hauber-Özer, George Mason University

Giovanni Dazzo, George Mason University

Summary of Book:

Critical Participatory Inquiry (CPI) represents a group of methodologies (including action research, participatory action research, critical youth action research, community-based participatory research, participatory ethnography, Black participatory research, and feminist participatory action research) that seek to gather and disseminate authentic knowledge on issues of community concern through dialogue and reflection (Wang & Redwood-Jones, 2001). Practitioners like Orlando Fals-Borda in Colombia interrogated the positivist assumption that “truth” is “a cumulative, linear complex of confirmed rules and absolute laws” (2001, p. 28), recognizing that “science is socially constructed” and interpreted. Along with the work of Paulo Freire and Fals-Borda in Latin America, the participatory approach to inquiry emerged simultaneously from various disciplines and from other parts of the Global South in the 1970s as resistance to colonial, economic, and intellectual domination from the North (Fals-Borda, 1987, 1991; Glassman & Erdem, 2014; Rahman, 2008), challenging prevailing assumptions about knowledge, and developing a range of inquiry approaches and practices (Fals-Borda, 2001; Greenwood & Levin, 2007; Santos, 2015).

Much like Freire and Fals-Borda, Martiniquais philosopher and psychiatrist Frantz Fanon (1963/2014) called on scholars and public intellectuals to critically question the colonization of their minds—questioning how the scientific method can further oppress and extract knowledge from those who are researched. By working alongside the most marginalized and attending to the struggle from below, the colonized intellectual and practitioner can begin to see and support new ways of thinking by ridding themselves of their epistemic notions of argument, rationalization, and formal schooling. CPI rejects dominant research paradigms which reify majoritarian (typically White and European) epistemologies as the neutral standard and the perspectives of minority and marginalized groups as deficient (Crenshaw et al., 1995; Solórzano & Yosso, 2002). This aligns with Indigenous epistemologies which emphasize the localized, relational nature of knowledge and the connections between mind, body, and spirit (Antoine et al., 2018; Cook-Lynn, 1997; Tuhiwai Smith, 1999). It also privileges a feminist emphasis on situated or embodied knowledge (Haraway, 1988) and on centering marginalized perspectives and contesting oppression (Maguire, 1996; Reid & Gillberg, 2014; Singh et al., 2013). Participatory epistemology claims that research has “democratic potential” at the grassroots level and thus needs to be democratized or opened up to ordinary individuals (Appadurai, 2006, p. 167). Similarly, Fals-Borda (2001) called for a new scientific paradigm that privileges the knowledge of “the rebel, the heretical, the indigenous, and the common folk” (Fals-Borda, 2001, p. 28). In response to this call, CPI declares that community members, often individuals who have been historically pushed to the margins of society or who have been mistreated or violated by the research process itself, are experts of their worlds and must be meaningfully included in decisions that affect them. In other words, those closest to an issue know it best because of their lived experience, or vivencia, to use the original Spanish term from Orlando Fals-Borda (Fals-Borda, 1987; Fals-Borda & Rahman, 1991). As a result, CPI argues that “ordinary people” can and should be included as co-creators of knowledge and retain ownership of this knowledge. In fact, Arjun Appadurai, an Indian-American anthropologist, asserts that everyone has a right to research and that it should not be thought of as a “high-end, technical activity” (2006, p. 167) requiring advanced formal education but as “the capacity to make disciplined inquiries into those things we need to know, but do not know yet” (p. 167).

Yet, what might this critical, democratized, decolonial methodology look like in the context of transnational research that crosses national borders, colonial histories, or social, economic, political, and cultural identities? This volume will offer a sampling of cases from across the Global South and Global North and from disciplines including but not limited to human rights, migration, education, health, youth studies, and development that demonstrate how CPI can fulfill its democratizing, decolonizing potential. Written primarily by new and emerging scholars, practitioners, and community leaders, these cases will illustrate how a critical, participatory approach to transnational research can enhance the strength (validity) of research processes and findings, create more equitable and just experiences for those who participate as co-researchers, and facilitate social change.

This edited volume will build on prior volumes in participatory action research, community based participatory research, and decolonizing methodologies by illustrating how research guided by the critical, emancipatory epistemology of CPI can support social change in transnational contexts, which are inherently laden with unequal power dynamics and colonial structures. As a whole, the book will provide a valuable framework for transnational CPI, and the chapter authors will detail a wealth of examples for undergraduate and graduate students, new researchers, faculty members, community leaders, and even funders and policymakers who want to work toward greater equity and social justice in transnational research contexts.

Call for Chapter Proposals:

We invite proposals for chapters from diverse perspectives and disciplines that explore various aspects of critical participatory inquiry in transnational research contexts. We particularly and enthusiastically encourage new scholars as well as practitioners, community leaders, and community members to submit proposals or to co-author proposals. In addition, we hope to highlight voices, perspectives, and experiences from the Global South, as well as transnational partnerships and collaborations that span the Global South / Global North divide. With this goal in mind, we invite established scholars in or from the Global North to co-author with Southern and emerging scholars.

The book will be split into three parts:
1. Methodological roots of transnational CPI
2. The inherently intertwined practices of ethics and validity in transnational CPI
3. Positionality and power in transnational CPI
Proposed chapters should clearly fit within one of the above sections and should follow a similar structure:
1. Abstract
2. Transnational context (pertinent political, historical, social contexts)
3. Description of the case
a. Practitioner-scholar relationships, positionalities
b. Research methods/methodologies
4. Discussion (with a focus on the theme of the book part)
5. Conclusions/lessons learned/possibilities for other transnational contexts

Possible chapter topics include:
• Community development
• Conflict resolution and peacebuilding
• Gender and equity
• Human rights
• Indigenous practices as method
• Language learning and multilingualism
• Migration and diversity
• Participatory ethnography
• Participatory theater
• Public health
• Refugee education/education in emergencies
• Researcher identity
• Social work
• Teacher education

Submission Information:

Please submit an abstract and outline of your proposed chapter as a single (one) Word document to Your abstract should be between 400 and 500 words, not including references. Your outline should be as detailed as possible to give us a sense of the direction your chapter will take. Please also specify which of the three parts you think your chapter would best fit. In addition, include 3-5 keywords and a short author biography and/or your CV as a separate attachment. Chapter proposals will be reviewed based on the following criteria:
• Focuses on critical, participatory inquiry in transnational contexts
• Rooted in relevant literature
• Aligned to one of the three sections in the book
• Demonstrates reflexivity/self-awareness about colonial and dominant research paradigms
• Fits within broader conceptualizations of critical, participatory inquiry
• Reflects diverse perspectives and experiences

Important Dates:

The editors have secured a contract with Routledge and, as such, the following dates are firm:
• August 30, 2021: Initial abstracts and outlines for chapters due
• October 31, 2021: Authors will be notified of a decision
• March 15, 2022: If accepted, initial chapter drafts due
• June 1, 2022: Authors will receive feedback on chapter drafts
• October 1, 2022: Final drafts due
• January 1, 2023: Final manuscript submitted to Routledge

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