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Deadline for Manuscript Submission:
December 31, 2022


Call for Papers

Liberation Science: Using Liberation Pedagogies and Knowledge Systems to Build Communities of Resistance to Address Environmental and Climate Injustices

Guest Editors:

Luz Guel
Director, Community Engagement & Environmental Justice
Department of Environmental Medicine & Public Health
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dawn Roberts-Semple
Assistant Professor
Department of Earth & Physical Sciences
CUNY York College


The “roots” of modern science and research are one of conquest, domination, extraction, and exploitation of Black, Indigenous, and People of the Global Majority (BIPGM). The white supremacist and capitalist world system is deeply embedded in every aspect of science and perpetuated through researchers, grant funding mechanisms, publications, and racist institutional practices. The Ivory Tower sustains these systems of domination by 1) devaluing the perspectives of low-income, BIPGM 2) erasing scientific contributions from BIPGM 3) valuing knowledge that aligns with the capitalist agenda 4) impeding real-world applications of scientific knowledge that can be used to uplift BIPGM 5) exploiting Black and brown bodies in scientific research and 6) maintaining racist sentiments in the scientific culture1.

BIPGM facing environmental injustices are viewed in research endeavors through a scarcity mindset, labeled as minorities and vulnerable, a perspective that fails to acknowledge the community’s right to self-determination and “the natural abundance that exists within and in between us”2. Activating the power that exists within and in the spirit of the collective, also known as “inpowerment”, is vital to shifting power in research initiatives — every aspect of the research process should be informed by communities most impacted by systems of oppression, to address environmental and climate injustices and move towards collective liberation.

“Liberation” is a daily practice, commitment to a radical transformation of ourselves, our community, structures, systems, and to justice and love3-5. This commitment is central to the need to expose/understand how systems of domination inform our current environmental justice struggles and thus, develop alternative paths of resistance. “Liberation Science” challenges the traditional anti-Black, imperialistic, capitalistic, patriarchal, and white supremacist approaches to research in order to solve environmental and climate injustices. It illuminates entry points to dismantling systems of oppression and builds communities of resistance within different forms of knowledge systems and research initiatives. “Liberation Science” includes an ever-expanding list of approaches, methodologies, practices, visions, and futures that focus on creating pathways for liberation from environmental racism and systems of domination.

Building on the knowledge, scientific advancements, and theory developed by Black, Indigenous past, and living ancestors, “Liberation Science” inpowers those most impacted by environmental injustices to use their “radical imagination” as “a tool for decolonization” to reclaim the right to shape a far better society than what the current oppressive system offers2. For example, decolonial border thinking can be used by environmental justice leaders and scholars to “think through what EJ looks like outside the confines of racial capitalism” and transgress settler colonial definitions of peoplehood and nature6.When we practice Liberation Science, we can begin to reconnect with ancestral traditions of practicing science and reclaim subjugated knowledge7.

This special issue welcomes papers that explore the intersections of environmental justice, liberation struggles, scientific research, knowledge systems, to build communities of resistance. Grassroots organizers, facilitators, movement strategists, CBOs, and folks from interdisciplinary backgrounds, such as artists, are encouraged to submit approaches, strategies, stories, perspectives, and visions for how we can practice caring, healing, feeling joy, and resting, while moving toward environmental justice and liberation. How can BIPGM reconnect with ancestral, cultural, and local practices of science that can be used to heal from intersecting forms of oppression and address the root causes of environmental and climate injustices? What movement strategies can BIPGM utilize to reclaim and protect sacred practices of science from institutions like academia?

For researchers that are fostering academic-community research partnerships to address environmental and climate injustices, in what ways can we hold ourselves, colleagues, and academic institutions accountable for how they perpetuate systems of oppression and challenge hierarchies within science? What approaches could researchers utilize to foster knowledge spaces outside of academia? How can we organize mindful research initiatives in solidarity with frontline communities that are also working towards other liberation struggles such as prison abolition, queer liberation, anti-capitalism, land back, etc., and commit to the practice of liberation?

The submissions should address the following suggested intersecting topics:

  • Anti-Racism Research, Accountability, Decentering Whiteness in the Academy, Intersectional Research, Anti-Racism Education for Researchers, Environmental Justice Curriculum
  • Black Liberation, Black Feminist Theory, Afro-Futurism, Abolition Ecologies
  • Case studies and perspectives from environmental justice advocates, coalitions, youth leaders, educators, facilitators, and organizers where liberation theory is put into practice to move towards environmental justice and collective liberation
  • Community Science methods such as community sensors, crowdsourcing tools, and data story mapping, and their role in democratizing knowledge and science
  • Decolonial Science Methods, Indigenous Science, Indigenous Environmental Justice, Indigenous Sovereignty, Community-Academic Partnerships with Tribal Nations
  • Opportunities and recommendations for science and environmental justice research to address the compounding exposures of other forms of oppression (anti-blackness, ableism, ageism, classism, colorism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, misogyny, white supremacy, etc.,)
  • Practicable theory of change and justice frameworks that can move us towards environmental justice and individual, community, and collective liberation — such as mutual aid, community agreements, rest as resistance, reparations, storytelling, affinity groups, disability justice, transformative justice, healing justice, spatial justice, restorative justice, etc,.
  • Transnational Environmental Justice, Borders, Imperialism, Climate Change, Migration

Submission Deadline: All manuscripts should be submitted for consideration by December 31, 2022.

Visit Environmental Justice to learn more, read past issues, and view author submission guidelines. Queries to the editor to propose a topic prior to submission are encouraged. Please contact Luz Guel and Dawn Roberts-Semple to initiate your query or for any further details.


  1. Wilson, Sacoby, and Sakereh Carter. 2020. “Let's Talk About Scientific Racism, Colonialism, and Imperialism.” Medium.
  2. brown, adrienne m. 2019. Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good. N.p.: AK Press.
  3. Freire, Paulo. 2000. Pedagagy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.
  4. Harro, Bobbie. 2000. “The Cycle of Liberation.” In Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, 618-625. New York: Routledge.
  5. Tchume, Trish A. n.d. “Four Frameworks for Living Liberation.” Imagining a Nonprofit Wakanda. Accessed 2021.
  6. Pullido, Laura, and Juan De Lara. 2018. “Reimagining ‘justice’ in environmental justice: Radical ecologies, decolonial thought, and the Black Radical Tradition.” Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 1, no. 1-2 (April): 76–98.
  7. hooks, bell. 1994. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge.

Learn More about this journal

Deadline for Manuscript Submission:
December 31, 2022