Call for Papers: Human Rights Education and Grassroots Activism

2021-12-03

Call for Papers: Human Rights Education and Grassroots Activism

Lead Editors: Suzanne Egan, Jeff Plantilla and Felicia Yeban

The recent rise of social movements such as Black Lives Matter, Fridays for Future and #MeToo has been one of the most potent forces of human rights mobilisation to have emerged at the global level in decades. At a time when the international human rights movement has come increasingly under fire for its colonial framing, excessive professionalisation and legalistic strategizing, attention has turned to the contrasting success of these grassroots movements in capturing public attention and empowering victims and communities to initiate social as well as legal change.  Human rights education (HRE) through diverse means - from public education initiatives, storytelling and engagement in formal and non-formal settings – has clearly been a critical factor in the evolution of these movements and in contributing to the success of their respective struggles. The involvement of young people in these movements has been particularly striking. At the same time, human rights mobilisation by NGOs and local voluntary sector groups in many countries (including single issue groups, local community groups, faith-based organisations, and charities) with varying degrees of formalisation and resources, is also evolving. Such groups and organisations regularly engage in both formal and informal HRE initiatives. Their aims include raising awareness of current social problems, community empowerment, to building a culture of human rights. NGOs and grassroots organisations have also played a crucial role over many years in helping to develop the HRE policies and programmes of international organisations such as the UN and the Council of Europe. 

While scholarship on HRE includes consideration of the evolution and practice of HRE by NGOs and grassroots organisations, theoretical and empirical literature in the field focuses predominantly on HRE in formal settings, particularly in schools. Yet much can be learned from the wide range of HRE practices engaged in by NGOs and grassroots organisations, as well as the challenges encountered by such groups in meaningfully engaging HRE as a tool of activism that can serve to inform the theory and practice of HRE in multiple contexts. HRER has, to date, included only a few examples of such work (see Hall, 2019; Bittar, 2020). For this special issue of Human Rights Education Review, we encourage papers from a range of perspectives and from different national and international contexts to address this gap in the literature. To this end, we invite empirical research articles, case studies, and conceptual articles covering, but not limited to:

  • The role of HRE as a tool of grassroots human rights activism at local and global levels
  • Methodologies and pedagogies of HRE in grassroots campaigns
  • Human rights education and the digital space
  • The contribution of grassroots organisations to the conceptual and institutional development of HRE
  • Challenges in implementing HRE in non-formal settings
  • Human rights activism in the formal education sector
  • HRE and youth activism.

Please send an extended abstract of no more than 250 words to Managing Editor Marta Stachurska-Kounta at marta.m.stachurska-kounta@usn.no with the email subject line: HRER Special Edition HRE and Grassroots Activism by 4 February 2022.  Abstracts will be reviewed and the authors informed no later than 25 February 2022 if we would like to invite the full paper for review. All invited manuscripts will be subject to double-blind peer review. Full manuscripts are due by 29 April 2022, and the Special Issue will be published in Vol 6(1) in January 2023.