Call for Papers – Anti-Racism

A Special Issue on Anti-Racism, Anti-Fascism, and Anti-Discrimination in and through Music Education

Guest Editor: Dr. Nasim Niknafs (Faculty of Music, University of Toronto)

The violence of racial and ethnic discrimination has taken new forms throughout the world, rendering different peoples in different places as “a genus of subaltern humanity,” disposable and surplus (Mbebe 2019, 178, emphasis original). In North America, evidence of this subaltern humanity arises in the killings of Black people in the U.S. by police and local vigilantes, and the deaths of Indigenous peoples at the hands of the police in Canada, compounded by the staggering number of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. Beyond North America, Hindu nationalism policies in India have resulted in the ostracizing of Muslims. In the UK, the Windrush Generation (the children of immigrants from Commonwealth Caribbean countries who arrived in Britain between 1948 and 1971) have been wrongfully detained and deported. In Iran, systemic racism has denied Afghan refugees access to education and basic needs. World-wide, Covid-19 is disproportionately affecting historically marginalized groups. These represent but a few examples of the malignant effects of racism globally that exacerbate such contemporary global issues as terrorism, the climate crisis, and dehumanizing migratory policies (Dwyer & Bressey, 2008).

Racism may easily escape critical scrutiny as a systemic problematic because it is often misidentified as an “archaic, minimal personal pathology” rather than “a private commodity whose ‘circulation’ is de-regulated” (Garner, 2016, p. 166). An increasing number of writers and scholars have pointed to this shift of discourse in racism and its influence on educational practices. They caution against the dangers of implicit racial indoctrinations, color-blindness, tolerance, privileged and polite activism, and political correctness that circumvent engaging with the very real, excruciating, and material complexities of racial injustices and discriminatory practices (e.g. Bradley 2007, 2015, Fleras, 2014, Hess, 2018). Some scholars in music education contend that music teaching and learning at all levels of education from early childhood to higher education tacitly uphold white supremacy, oppressive ideologies, and fascistic forms of community (Koza, 2008; Bradley, 2009, 2017).

In the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others by police and vigilantes in the U.S. in 2020, anti-racist, anti-fascist, and anti-discriminatory movements in arts education and education departments have begun to emerge (e.g., MayDay Group’s Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Anti-Racism, Open Letter on Antiracist Actions Within SMT, and #ThisIsArtSchool). This special issue of ACT invites manuscripts from all geographies and cultural backgrounds to scrutinize and critique racism, fascism, and discriminatory practices in relation to music education at all levels.

Possible themes may include but are not limited to:

  • personal stories, autobiographies, and testimonies interpreted through critical race theory, critical theory and pedagogy, culturally relevant pedagogy, multi- or inter-culturalism, and/or other perspectives,
  • actionable theories of antiracism, anti-fascism, and anti-discrimination in and through music education,
  • anti-racist and anti-discriminatory research practices in music education,
  • antiracist public policies and music education,
  • moral and ethical grounds and the imperatives for music education and music educators in relation to racial injustices,
  • online and offline antiracism, anti-fascism, and anti-discrimination activism in music education and,
  • curricular changes demanding an overhaul of hegemonic music education practices.           

Submission Deadline: Please submit your manuscript as a Word document via e-mail, no later than midnight, March 1, 2021 to, copied to the ACT Co-Editors: Dr. Deborah Bradley at and Dr. Scott Goble at

Submission Guidelines

Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education is devoted to the critical study and analysis of issues related to the field of music education. ACT welcomes submissions from diverse perspectives (e.g. education, music, philosophy, sociology, history, psychology, curriculum studies), dealing with critical, analytical, practical, theoretical, or policy development concerns, as well as submissions that seek to apply, challenge, or extend the MayDay Group’s Action Ideals.

Article Length: ACT imposes no set restrictions on length. However, authors may be asked to shorten submissions where reviewers or the editor determine that an essay’s length is not warranted by its content.

Formatting: Please format submissions using the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style’s “author-date system” with the following three adaptations: 1) omit quotations marks around titles in reference lists, 2) follow APA conventions for capitalization in reference lists, and 3) use closed ellipses (necessary for html formatting). Endnotes are permitted. Audio and video materials are encouraged. Also, ACT encourages the use of “they” (and any derivation) as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun. Consult a recent issue of ACT or contact the editors 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.

Languages: Following ACT’s special issue guidelines on the Decolonization of Music Education, and with the purpose of actively diversifying knowledge creation strategies, this special issue also welcomes manuscripts that were originally published in a language other than English and in a venue not commonly accessible by all. Submitters are required to provide the English translation of their submissions.

Peer Review Process: ACT submissions are subject to a rigorous process of double-blind peer review. Final publication decisions rest with the editors (in consideration of reviewer recommendations).


Bradley, Deborah. 2007. The sounds of silence: Talking race in music education. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education 6 (4):132-162.

Bradley, Deborah. 2009. Oh, that magic feeling! Multicultural human subjectivity, community, and fascism’s footprints. Philosophy of Music Education Review, 56-74.

Bradley, Deborah. 2015. Hidden in plain sight: Race and racism in music education. In The [Oxford] Handbook of Social Justice in Music Education, edited by Cathy Benedict, Patrick Schmidt, Gary Spruce and Paul Woodford. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bradley, Deborah. 2017. Interrogating the grammars of institutions and injustice. Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education, 16(3), 1-14.

Dwyer, Claire, and Carolyn Bressey. 2008. New geographies of race and racism. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

Fleras, Augie. 2014. Racisms in a multicultural Canada: Paradoxes, politics, and resistance. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Garner, Steve. 2016. A moral economy of whiteness: Four frames of racialized discourse. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Hess, Juliet. 2018. Troubling whiteness: Music education and the “messiness” of equity work. International Journal of Music Education, 36(2), 128-144.

Koza, Julia Ecklund. 2008. Listening for whiteness: Hearing racial politics in undergraduate school music. Philosophy of Music Education Review, 16(2), 145-155.

Mbebe. Achille. 2019. Necropolitics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

#ThisIsArtSchool. 2020.

#ThisIsArtSchool. 2020.