Spirituality and Abolition – Call for Submissions

IMG_1245A Call for Submissions for an issue of the Abolition journal on “Spirituality and Abolition,” to be edited by Ashon Crawley and Roberto Sirvent.

Abolition is a spiritual practice, a spiritual journey, a spiritual commitment. What does abolition mean and how can we get there as a collective and improvisational project, how can we define it and get there as a desired and desirous practice? To make a claim for abolition as spiritual practice, journey and commitment is to consider the ways abolition — in the historical and contemporary sense including movements against slavery, prisons, the wage system, animal and earth exploitation, racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence, and the death penalty; movements against patriarchy, capitalism, heteronormativity, ableism, colonialism, the state, white supremacy, etc. — necessitates epistemologies that have been foreclosed through violent force by Western thought of philosophical and theological kinds, it is to claim that the material conditions that will produce abolition are necessarily Black, Indigenous, queer and trans, feminist, and also about disabled and other non-conforming bodies in force and verve.

This Call for Submissions asks: what can prison abolition teach us about spiritual practice, spiritual journey, spiritual commitment? And, what can these things underscore about the struggle for abolition as a desired manifestation of material change in worlds we inhabit currently? To ask about the relation between abolition and spirituality is not to contend fundamentally with particular doctrines, creeds or theologies rooted in particularities of religious traditions, though those traditions in their particularities might create a path in the direction of such an idea and imagined possibility. It is to consider the ways abolition provides a framework for thinking with and also against the strictures of doctrine, creeds and theologies that have us contend against each other for purportedly squandered resources of imagined connection. To consider the relation of abolition to spiritual practice, spiritual journey, spiritual commitment, is to underscore the resurgence, survivance, reparation, and oppositional futurities of Black, Indigenous, queer and trans, feminist, and also about disabled and other non-conforming bodies imagination, being in worlds otherwise. We seek essays, poetry, artwork and reflections that attempt to think through these relations and relationalities.

Please submit abstracts to Ashon Crawley and Roberto Sirvent (ashon.crawley@gmail.com and rdsirvent@hiu.edu) by November 1, 2018. Final submissions will be due by March 1, 2019.

We also encourage submissions from incarcerated writers and artists. We can receive mail at:

Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics
1321 N. Milwaukee Avenue
PMB 460
Chicago, IL 60622


Prison Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning with Imprisoned Writers

This edited collection will address educational practices and pedagogies for teaching writing in prisons.  The collection’s framing concept argues for social and political consciousness within prison writing education that represents equal and shared learning between writers and teachers.  The collection will offer material that advocates an equalitarian pedagogy for prison writing education while exploring how writing projects can model student/teacher collaboration in order for learning to occur for both teacher and student.  More directly, how do knowledge, writing, and social activism combine in writing classrooms within a prison setting?

Essays of interest might include autobiographical discussions of learning as a result of teaching writing in prisons; pedagogical issues and methods specific to prison education; politics of teaching writing in prisons; gender and minority status in prison writing; impact of security levels on writing programs, particularly educational offerings to supermax residents; interaction of writing and performance for inmate writers; teaching different genres of writing in prison; and U.S. prison writing in languages other than English.

The editors are particularly interested in essays focused on the work and meanings of writing in prison, and the social context in which incarcerated writers pursue individual and group writing.  We invite essays from prison teachers and administrators, education volunteers, educational administration professionals, rhetoric & composition communities, and education faculty at universities. Essays from those teaching outside prisons should make clear the basis of their teaching engagement with inmate writers.  We welcome and encourage theoretical discussion, but essays should employ clear and accessible language.

Please send 250-word abstracts, or full draft manuscripts of previously unpublished material, to the co-editors no later than January 31, 2016 for consideration.  Include a 100-150 word bio.  Authors will be notified by February 15, 2016.  Where relevant for contributors from academic institutions, a copy of IRB approval must be submitted upon acceptance, and a permissions chart must be submitted with the final draft.  Final drafts of selected abstracts or manuscripts will be due on June 30, 2016. Essays should not exceed 10,000 words; bibliography in Chicago style; and 11 pt. Courier font with one inch margin.  Anticipated date of manuscript completion to be submitted to the publisher for peer review is planned forDecember 1, 2016. Revisions will be required in early fall of 2016. This volume is under consideration by a major university press; however, publication of individual manuscripts cannot be guaranteed.

Send proposals and submissions as Word file attachments via email to Joe Lockard (Joe.Lockard@asu.edu), Department of English, Arizona State University, and Sherry Rankins-Robertson (sjrobertson@ualr.edu), Department of Rhetoric and Writing, University of Arkansas-Little Rock. Queries are welcomed.

CFP! Workshop: Teaching Theological and Religious Studies Inside Prison Walls

Call for Participants

Mass incarceration has drawn broad scholarly interest, and theological and religious studies scholars have begun to join this conversation. At the same time that scholarly interest in mass incarceration is on the rise, an increasing number of colleges, universities, and seminaries are offering classes inside prison walls, including religious studies classes. Higher education opportunities inside prisons were once common, but incarcerated students were excluded from Pell Grants in the US in 1994, leading to a decimation of the prison education landscape. In Canada, also in the mid-1990s, there was a parallel shrinkage in prison education opportunities. Yet teaching university courses in prisons poses unique challenges and offers unique opportunities, both for instructors and students. It offers those who are incarcerated the skills to think critically about themselves and their environments in a space that does not encourage critical thought, and it offers them the ability, post-incarceration, to articulate their experiences with mass incarceration and to shape the wider landscape of higher education in democratic societies. Teaching theological and religious studies inside prison walls promises insights of pedagogical value outside prison walls and to the burgeoning field of theological and religious studies scholarship on incarceration.

On May 3, we will convene a workshop of experienced and aspiring prison educators who are particularly interested in seeing theological and religious studies taught in prisons. The workshop will be held in Montreal (the AAR-EIR regional conference is May 1-2). Through group discussions, sharing experiences, and individual mentorship, this workshop will promote the growth of, and critical reflection on, teaching theological and religious studies in prisons. We invite theology and religious studies scholars interested in starting or growing prison education programs to apply to the workshop, which will also include several invited, highly experienced educators. We will provide participants with accommodations for two nights in a hotel, meals, and a travel subsidy. We intend this workshop to be the first step in a longer collaborative process.

To apply, e-mail your CV and a one page description of your reasons for applying to Melanie Webb (melanie.webb@ptsem.edu) and Vincent Lloyd (vwlloyd@syr.edu) by February 20, 2015. Notification by March 1, 2015.

This workshop is supported by an American Academy of Religion Regional Development Grant.