Special Issue of ‘Feminism & Psychology’: Feminisms and Decolonising Psychology

Special Issue of ‘Feminism & Psychology’: Feminisms and Decolonising Psychology

Calls to decolonise psychology have come from a range of perspectives and geographies. At universities, students have demanded that the curriculum be decolonised, with local theory and research being foregrounded. Academics have argued for methodologies that speak to indigenous forms of knowledge and interaction. Practitioners have forged interventions based on contextual social practices. Decolonising psychology emphasises the locatedness of knowledge production, (neo)colonialist assumptions within ‘mainstream’ psychology, and the need for contextualised epistemologies, methodologies, and practice.

These calls have emerged in response to the dominance of a Euro-American model of psychological science. Given the skewing of publishing, research, and human resources to the Global North¹, knowledge generated in these contexts tends to dominate. Scholars from the Global South have lamented this phenomenon as well as the need to constantly ‘write-back’ or critique theoretical, epistemological, and methodological assumptions made by scholars in the Global North.

At the same time, scholars from the Global South have grappled with the implications of focusing attention
on local or contextual specificities, particularly in terms of theoretical foundations and the generation of data. What does it mean to practice, for example, African Psychology? How, in forging such a psychology, do scholars avoid the pitfalls of essentialism, homogenisation, appealing to the myth of origin, or exoticising particular practices?

Decolonising psychology is not an endeavour restricted to the Global South, however. Illustrating how
mainstream Euro-American psychology is premised on particular (neo)colonialist assumptions not only with regard to other regions of the world, but also in relation to marginalised populations within Global North countries (e.g., immigrants, refugees, diasporic and racialised groups, or indigenous communities), and within Global South countries (e.g., Dalits in India, or Khoisan in South Africa).

In this special issue, we turn the spotlight on what and how feminisms (in their multiple forms) are (or are
not) taken up in debates and practices of decolonising psychology. We invite contributions from diverse contexts, locales, circumstances, and approaches (including queer and trans* studies). Possible topics include:

  • Feminisms and decolonising the psychology curriculum;
  • Decolonialism and feminisms in social justice, human rights, and transnational practices;
  • Feminisms and decoloniality in interventions, methodologies, or epistemology;
  • Research and interventions that highlight the intersections of gender, sexuality, and (neo)colonial power
    relations;
  • Feminist theory, queer theory, and trans* studies in relation to the decolonial turn;
  • Feminist work in tracing gendered colonial practices/doctrines/institutions/worldviews that shaped
    coloniser/colonised interactions and continue to be enshrined in legal systems;
  • Feminist work in highlighting the cultural specificity of central taken-for-granted tropes in Euro-American
    centric psychology that have been uncritically assumed to be universal;
  • Indigenous feminist inquiries and settler colonialism

Contributions may draw on research, theory, practice, or reflections. Submissions may be full-length manuscripts (up to 8,000 words), observations or commentaries (500 to 2,000 words), or brief reports (up to 3000 words). Click here for detailsSubmissions will be subject to the usual review process. Queries may be sent to the editors: Catriona Macleod (c.macleod@ru.ac.za), Sunil Bhatia (ssbha@conncoll.edu) or Wen Liu (wliu2@albany.edu).

Due date for submissions: 15 November 2018


¹The editors are aware that Global South and Global North are not necessarily unproblematic signifiers as they homogenise swathes of the globe. Nevertheless, there is heuristic value in understanding the power relations that accrue between LMIC (low- and middle-income countries) and high income countries, and between former colonies and colonisers.

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