Call for Papers: Theorizing Academia: Critical and Futuristic Perspectives

Special Issue of Journal of Family Theory & Review

Guest Editors: Ramona Faith Oswald & Anisa Zvonkovic

Submissions due: September 1, 2023


Theorizing academia challenges scholars to step back and conceptualize their labor as researchers, educators, practitioners, administrators, staff, students, and research participants, within complex public and private higher education institutions. The analyses within this collection of papers can unmask the power structures that currently drive how academia works, for whom, and to what ends. The analysis can also provide a vision for what academia could be and how current paths can be changed to create new or revised systems of knowledge generation, dissemination, and impact. COVID exposed the good and the bad of pre-COVID higher education. Jobs, units, students, colleagues, campuses, and the borders between work and not-work are changing.

The Journal of Family Theory & Review is an excellent venue for this special issue. Family Science programs are structured in different ways across institutions, providing a diverse set of lenses through which academia can be interrogated and understood. Family Science programs often have outreach and public engagement missions and professional credentialing programs that enable exploration beyond the academy. JFTR’s mission is to produce and apply knowledge through innovative theorizing that speaks to and extends beyond the family field. Acknowledging that Family Science programs are embedded in diverse institutional structures, recognizing historical trends in higher education, and identifying power structures embedded in decisions made by authorities, the JFTR editorial team looks forward to a rich collection of articles that provide historical, systemic, and transdisciplinary understandings of the academy, helping to chart a path forward. In addition to Family Science, the editors welcome submissions from any disciplinary perspective and from non-academics who theorize the impact of academia on their lives or communities.

Examples of key topics guiding the special issues are:

  • Envisioning how programs or careers would be different if centered on minoritized perspectives.
  • Analyzing success or failure in academia from specific vantage points or positionalities.
  • Critically examining the value of data for researchers, participants, institutions, and communities.
  • Interrogating knowledge dissemination – how it operates and whose interests it serves.
  • Applying family theories to specific problem within academia (e.g., critical race theory and the P&T process).
  • Examining the positionalities of Family Science in the academy, and how scholars contribute to change or stasis.
  • Considering how the history of land grants as “land grabs” is perpetuated in scholarly work.
  • Illuminating how academia affects scholars' family formation and ties.
  • Critical reviews and meta-analyses related to these topics are welcome (JFTR does not publish empirical studies).

Manuscripts are due by September 1, 2023, and the special issue will be published in December 2024. Manuscripts must be submitted via the Manuscript Central submission portal at Be sure to note that the submission is for this special issue. Manuscripts should not exceed 35 double-spaced typed pages of text. For detailed manuscript preparation guidelines, please refer to 

For more information or questions or to discuss submission ideas, please contact the special issue editors:  

Ramona Faith Oswald: [email protected] or Anisa Zvonkovic: [email protected]