Call for Papers


Special issue of Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education on Decolonization of Music Education

Guest editors: Guillermo Rosabal-Coto (Observatorio del Musicar,[1] Universidad de Costa Rica), Favio D. Shifres (Laboratorio para el Estudio de la Experiencia Musical,[2] Universidad Nacional de La Plata), and Daniel H. Gonnet (Tecnicatura en Música Popular[3], Universidad Nacional de La Plata)

Call for submissions:

Decolonial thinking aims at dismantling colonialist processes upon bodies, communities, and imaginaries, and detaching from the consequences of colonialism. Inextricably linked to decolonial thinking, postcolonial theory is useful to trace the material/ideological roots and dynamics of issues that we broadly understand as sociocultural and educational exclusion, injustice, power differentials, and inequality, to the exercise of Western colonial power and Eurocentrism. Beginning with the Spanish expansion across the Atlantic in the 16th century, on the grounds of “civilization,” to 21st century exploitation of resources, human labor and Indigenous knowledge in the name of development, colonialist acts impose a universal descriptive statement of the human that sustains the ontologies and epistemologies of ethnoclasses and a supporting social order (Wynter 2003). Such projects aim to conquer and invalidate non-hegemonic bodies and subjectivities and deprive them of lands, natural resources, agency, memory, history, and representation (Mignolo 2011, Quijano 2000), to construct them discursively as subaltern-others, with the ultimate goal to accomplish modernization and progress, globalization, and international development.

The particular contexts and mechanisms that drive colonialist processes have been interpreted through theories and concepts such as settler colonialism, re-colonization from within (inner colonialism), neocolonialism, and abyssal thinking (Santos 2007). Resistance to and liberation from colonial structures have been explained under border epistemology, decolonial turns, and epistemic disobedience. Because of this breadth, and also due to the locus of enunciation of each scholar, interpretations may differ considerably between the global North and South.

This special issue of ACT, edited by Guillermo Rosabal-Coto, Favio Shifres, and Daniel Gonnet aims to problematize ontologies, epistemologies, notions, hierarchies, curricula, pedagogical and research practices, policy, as well as particular historical processes or cultural issues that reveal and challenge colonization of territories, bodies, communities, and subjectivities in music education, beyond anticolonial statements and critique.

In their groundbreaking article Decolonization is not a metaphor, Tuck and Yang (2012) warn that educational endeavors and social justice scholarship and activism may affirm and perpetuate colonization when they fail to unveil and dismantle the origin and terms of colonial oppression, and instead disguise or reinforce them. The inclusion of Indigenous musical instruments and repertoire and non-hegemonic knowledge in curricula and practices, and the advocacy for multiculturalism in classrooms, do not necessarily constitute acts of decolonization. Research about Indigenous or marginal musics or communities, from an overtly Eurocentric, White perspective, also falls short in accomplishing the objectives of decolonization. We invite critical contributions based on literature coherent with the geocultural contexts addressed, that avoid colonization as interchangeable with any kind of social oppression, or avoid the use of decolonization as a catch-all term.

While the guest editors’ geocultural location is the Global South (see Shifres and Rosabal-Coto in press), we acknowledge the importance of healthy interchange and dialogue between different contexts and issues of colonization/decolonization. We also welcome manuscripts that articulate decolonization in music education from the perspective of the global North, such as (but not restricted to) (mis)representation and deprivation of resources and agency of Indigenous and other marginalized populations, in connection with material and ideological conditions of music production, teaching, dissemination and consumption, and research.

ACT mission and breadth: ACT publishes refereed and invited critical, analytical, theoretical, and policy development articles of international interest that illuminate, extend or challenge the Action Ideals of the MayDay Group. Research based in and across a variety of disciplinary perspectives is thus encouraged and welcomed: e.g., education, music, philosophy, sociology, history, psychology, curriculum. Frequency of issues is determined by submissions, approvals and technical preparation.

Languages: With the intent to favor discussion on decolonization through pluriversal knowledge, we welcome articles that were previously published in a language other than English, or in a venue not generally accessible. Considering that most ACT readers are fluent in English, accepted manuscripts will be accompanied by an English translation.

Peer review process: All submissions to ACT are subject to a rigorous process of double blind peer review. Final publication decisions rest with the editor (in light of reviewer recommendations).\

Formatting: Please format submissions using the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style’s author-date system throughout. Endnotes are permitted. Audio and video materials are encouraged. Consult a recent issue of ACT or contact the editor for more information if required.

Abstract and keywords: Submissions must be accompanied by a brief abstract (ca. 100–150 words) and a short list of keywords.

About the author: Include a 100–150 word biography for each author.

Please email manuscripts as attachments to, copied to The deadline for submissions to this special issue of ACT is March 31st, 2018.


Mignolo, W. D. 2011. The darker side of Western Modernity. Global futures, decolonial options. North Carolina: Duke University Press.

Quijano, A. 2000. Colonialidad del poder, eurocentrismo y América Latina. [Coloniality of power, eurocentrism, and Latin America]. Caracas, Venezuela: CLACSO.

Shifres, F. & Rosabal-Coto, G. in press. Hacia una educación musical en y desde Latinoamérica [Towards a decolonial music education in and from Latin America]. Revista Internacional de Educación Musical (RIEM).

Santos, B. de S. 2007. Beyond abyssal thinking: From global lines to ecologies of knowledges. Review 30 (1): 45-87.

Tuck, E. & Yang, K. W. 2012. Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1 (1): 1-40.

Wynter, S. 2003. Unsettling the coloniality of being/power/truth/freedom: Towards the human, after man, its overrepresentation–an argument. The New Centennial Review 3 (3): 257-337.

[1] “Observatory of Musicking.”

[2] “Laboratory for the Study of Musical Experience.”

[3] “Technicature on Popular Music.”