Call for Book Chapter Submissions Framing Peace: Thinking about and Enacting Curriculum as “Radical Hope.”

Call for Book Chapter Submissions  Framing Peace:  Thinking about and Enacting Curriculum as “Radical Hope.”

Framing Peace:

Thinking about and Enacting Curriculum as “Radical Hope.”

Editors: Hans Smits and Rahat Naqvi

University of Calgary

Provoked by Judith Butler’s question “what is a life”, as explored in her book Frames of War (2009), Naqvi and Smits (2012), gathered a diverse set of reflections on how we might think about and enact curriculum in the face of polarizing frames of apprehension in the context of global conflicts.  The essays in the book advocated the need to engage with questions about how we understand the “other” in ways that acknowledge fundamental tenets of humanity, and indeed how that needs to be reframed to allow acknowledgment of both life and its grievability when life is made vulnerable by war and other calamities.  The diversely conceived essays in Naqvi’s and Smits’ book present perspectives which address questions of what frames our understanding as educators, how we negotiate differences in views about life, culture and society, forms of communication that enable cross-cultural interactions, issues of social justice, and the pedagogic responsibilities of educators.

Although taking up the challenge of reconceptualising curriculum thinking and practice within frames of war (frames referring to how human recognition and grievability are differentially recognized), implicit in the discussions included in Naqvi’s and Smits’ collection, is the question of how we might think in terms of “frames of peace.”  That is to suggest a re-framing of understanding the other and educational responsibilities starting with the question of how we take up possibilities for living together in a world where difference, regard for the other, and responsibilities for renewal are fundamental to curriculum.

As Butler suggests in her earlier work, Precarious Life (2004), even to begin thinking about possibilities for peace entails recognizing that vulnerability is something that is common to our human condition, and not simply the province of those who are in immediately dire straits:

From where might a principle emerge by which we vow to protect others from the kinds of violence we have suffered, if not from an apprehension of a common human vulnerability? (2004, p. 30)

Butler further elaborates this in terms of how grieving for vulnerable lives entails melancholic reactions and how those might be transformed from melancholia to forms of mourning that recognize possibilities for life, and the necessity to critically challenge discourses which limit our understandings of possibility.

To take up frames of peace, then, entails on the one hand acknowledging our common vulnerability, the obligation to grieve well and appropriately all life, but then also to ask as Stephen White (2000) does in referring to Butler’s work, how we transform our melancholia to forms of mourning that include a “turning, working, cultivating oneself in a different direction” (2000, p. 100).

The theme of mourning is further explored in Jonathan Lear’s seminal essay, Radical Hope (2006).  Lear asks the question how we take up our lives in times of devastation and grieving when our language and our concepts fail us sustaining meaning and the constructive transformation of melancholic reactions to loss.  For Lear this is a question of hope, but hope made radical because it must be “directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is” (2006, p. 103).  Lear suggests, as a response to this challenge, that it is one that requires an imaginative rethinking of what is possible is, and practicing virtues such as courage in creating language and narratives which can capture what we are suggesting as “frames of peace.”

We are thus inviting submissions which take up the challenges posed in the references cited above.  What would constitute a frame of peace that entails taking up our responsibilities as curriculum writers and practitioners? Our proposal suggests diverse possibilities for taking up this question (e.g., hermeneutic, critical theory, language studies, disciplinary approaches, psychoanalytic, ecological, feminist and gender studies, Gandhian thought etc.) but underlying all submissions would be a discussion of how peace could be or should be fundamental to curriculum theorizing in the contexts of  diverse challenges we face in education, such as the ecological crises, issues of identity, tolerance and understanding, economic inequalities and the engagement of youth in building possibilities for peaceful futures.


  • Butler, J. (2004). Precarious life. The powers of mourning and violence. London and New York: Verso.
  • Butler, J. (2009). Frames of war. When is life grievable? London and New York: Verso.
  • Lear, J. (2006). Radical hope. Ethics in the face of cultural devastation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Naqvi, R. & Smits, H. (Eds.). (2012). Thinking about and enacting curriculum in “frames of war”.  Lanham: Lexington Books.
  • White, S. (2000). Sustaining affirmation. The strengths of weak ontology in political theory. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Submission guidelines


Please send a proposed title and very brief description (not more than 250 words) as an expression of intent and interest by May 31, 2012

Electronic versions can be sent to either of the editors:

Dr. Hans Smits:

Dr. Rahat Naqvi:

Please include contact information including mailing address, e-mail address and phone numbers.

Once we approve your proposal, submitted manuscripts should not exceed 6000 words, following APA guidelines and an included abstract.

Review Process:

We will subject each contribution to a peer, blind review process.  Following those reviews, authors will be notified about acceptance or not of their submissions, and/or any required revisions.


The deadline for submission of first full drafts is September 30, 2012.

For further information and questions, please contact either of the editors.

(Note: We will be submitting a formal proposal for the book to Peter Lang; we have initial support for our project from William Pinar).