Critical Race Theory in 2022 - Deadline in 3 weeks!

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Journal of Critical Race Inquiry
contact email: 

This special issue of the Journal for Critical Race Inquiry aims to theorize, historicize, and challenge contemporary misreadings of and antagonisms toward Critical Race Theory. Last summer, an attack on Critical Race Theory was launched in a series of articles in the conservative magazine City Journal. The attack gained momentum when the articles’ author appeared on the Tucker Carlson show and drew the attention of then-President Trump. “Critical Race Theory” came to signify and conflate everything from diversity training and employment equity to critical thinking about white privilege or the history of racism and colonialism in the United States to campaigns to defund the police. Over the course of the year, Trump’s Twitter attacks on CRT—framed variously as state sanctioned child abuse, propaganda, treason, and anti-white racism—were matched with an executive order banning anti-oppression and diversity training in the US government and at businesses holding government contracts. While that executive order was overturned by the Biden administration, attacks on CRT have proliferated as over a dozen states have introduced legislation or policy to restrict the teaching of CRT in public schools, with over 20 more in the process of doing so. Outside of the US, conservative media and politicians in Canada, Australia, and the UK have similarly attempted to mobilize this rhetoric with varying degrees of success.

In response, there has been significant work done to refute the ways CRT has been opportunistically mischaracterized. Articles and interviews in media of note including the New York Times, NPR, The New Yorker, Education Week, Salon, and Vox have traced the genesis of CRT from Critical Legal Studies, introducing non-academics and non-activists to the names and, to varying degrees, the ideas, of Kimberlé Crenshaw, Derek Bell, Kendall Thomas, Mari Matsuda, and Richard Delgado, among others. Yet the attacks on Critical Race Theory are gaining momentum nonetheless; in a way that may remind us of the media frenzy prompted by the 45th president of the United States, the attacks seem to feed upon attempts to expose and demystify them. What can we make of this?

For our summer 2022 issue, JCRI invites submissions of papers that respond to this year of right-wing attacks on critical race theory, and related attacks on anti-racist and anti-colonial knowledges, pedagogies, and interventions in institutional state practice.  In particular, we are interested in work considering the following questions:

  • What resources does Critical Race Theory provide us to analyze this most recent racist attack on anti-racist thinking, education, and policy?
  • How has Critical Race Theory developed and changed over time? How has it been affected and been affected by other anti-racist and anti-oppressive theories, methods, and analyses and by movements for decolonization; abolition; anti-capitalism; queer, crip, trans and gender liberation; and environmental justice?
  • How has CRT been mobilized in relation to histories and practices of the Canadian nation-state?
  • How has CRT found expression in educational, bureaucratic, and institutional contexts? How have these popular expressions of anti-racist work like diversity trainings engaged with, departed from, or coopted the radical premises of CRT? What are the promises and limitations of these kinds of practical, but perhaps more institutionally palatable, expressions of CRT? How has their association with CRT helped to mobilize or resist the attacks on CRT?
  • How do denunciations of “Critical Race Theory” in education and attacks on the historical analysis of structural racism, echo, reiterate and/or differ from earlier attacks on “intersectionality” and “multiculturalism” and from the rhetoric of “political correctness” and “culture war”?
  • How might attacks on CRT  articulate to recent and longstanding affective and institutional economies of anti-Black racism; racist constructions of “invading migrants,” and “Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism;” long histories of red baiting and anti-communism, currently under the sign of “antifa;” the constructions of predatory homosexuals and the casting of trans positive parenting as child abuse; and settler colonial violent opposition to Indigenous autonomy and protection of the lands and waters of Turtle Island?
  • How do these attacks respond to and distract from growing public consciousness of and opposition to murderous anti-Black and anti-Indigenous police violence and imprisonment as a technology of racial rule and colonial domination?
  • If this attack on CRT enacts a backlash against protests led by BLM and increased popular support for the Movement for Black Lives in the US and Canada, what is its relation to the white fragility, defensiveness, guilt, grief, shame, and hatred felt by non-Black people in response to police murders of Black people and the media attention given to those murders?
  • How have the attacks on CRT been expressed in the Canadian context? If the attacks on CRT are a response to support for BLM in the United States, how might we anticipate, analyze, and oppose the cultivation of a similar backlash in the Canadian context, particularly in relationship to settlers’ inability to avoid the reality of genocide as the bodies of Indigenous children have been unearthed on the sites of former residential schools this summer?

CRT has travelled across fields and disciplines and media, and we are interested in ways this interdisciplinarity might offer resources for contending with the present moment. As such, we invite scholarly, activist, and creative contributions to this topic, and encourage emerging academics and theory-engaged activists and artists to submit in the medium of their choice. Article submissions should be 6000-8000 words; all work should be submitted on the JCRI website according to our submission guidelines.

Questions may be directed to managingeditor.jcri@queensu.ca