CFP Affirming (Global) Life

Kaleidoscope: A Graduate Journal of Qualitative Communication Research welcomes submissions for our upcoming issue. Submission deadline extended to March 15, 2017

*Special Call*
Affirming (Global) Life: Overcoming Divisive Discourses, Remembering What’s at Stake, and Doing Something Now

In addition to regular submissions, this year’s issue will feature a special section devoted to scholarly discussions of discourses charged with promoting inequality and xenophobia. 2016 has been a violently tumultuous year of global upheaval that has deeply affected public dialogue about diversity. Black Lives Matter, for example, rose to prominence with protests against the killing of unarmed Black citizens in ways that prompted even the religious blog Patheos to use the word “execution” to describe one example, the shooting of Terrence Crutcher by Officer Betty Shelby (Stone). The Orlando massacre of members of the LGBTQ community at Pulse nightclub gave rise to a rhetorical struggle to contain, clarify, and expand upon arguments about the shooter’s motivations and the implications of calls for policy reactions that struck many as Islamophobic (Green) and/or perpetuating an erasure of the intersectional LGBTQ and Latinx identities of those killed (Brammer). Other examples of such discourses this year included North Carolina’s unconstitutional bathroom laws persecuting trans people; the gender wage gap and overwhelming income disparity systemically oppressing the poor and rewarding the rich; ISIS’s fundamentalist terrorism; the desperate plight of millions of refugees fleeing their war-torn countries in search of life; and the xenophobic, racist, and misogynistic rally speeches by Donald Trump, which caused spikes in violence in the nation’s schools (Costello). 2016 has shaken many of us from any complacent perch that “things are fine the way they are,” and discourse communities from academia to the Internet debate the best ways to respond. For some, this uncertainty about the best way to respond mixes with anger and one longs for a different time “before” now – for the nostalgic comfort of a bygone world that likely never existed. At other times, such concerns stimulate pragmatic hope for different circumstances, prompting proactive efforts to foster transformational changes.
People in the U.S. and around the world are becoming collectively concerned about the future we face. The forces of terrorism, racism, xenophobia, sexism, and unmindful privilege compel many persons to close themselves off from others they perceive as overwhelmingly different in one way or another. These tactics exploit one trait or practice as determining that an entire person or demographic is dangerous and expendable. In U.S. culture especially, fundamental individualism has always been less concerned with an ethics of community than with capitalism and profiteering. But people are not inherently greedy or solipsistic. We are social creatures, vulnerable and interdependent, and we’re all stuck here together. In this (extra)ordinary way, as Levinas tells us, we are always responsible for the other before our sense of self.

This special section, then, invites essays that ask how communication theory and practice can assist in transcending discourses that demonize and scapegoat difference. How can communication studies guide this transcendence and encourage the commitment, in de Beauvoir’s words to embrace our “fundamental ambiguity” as a shared condition? How can communication studies assist those who seek to deconstruct and untangle themselves from the ethnocentrism poisoning their perceptions of others? How can communication studies undo the scripts that encourage the automatic association of Muslims with terrorism, African Americans with criminality, trans* persons with pedophilia, and women with sex objects? How can communication studies foster a communication ethics that might begin with the notion that none of us are exempt from considering our participation in some of these discourses? It is time for us to begin making decisions, as Sartre said, as if each choice mattered for the whole of humanity. And our choices do matter, because as Sartre also warned, humans are a most curious animal, and the only of its kind that has the power to destroy itself.

This special editor’s call invites authors to move beyond mere critiques of communication practices by imagining concrete pragmatic actions and building connections across difference. Additional questions to consider include: How can qualitative research disrupt the forces of de facto xenophobia, racism, sexism, classism, and other systems of marginalization? For performance scholars, how can performance art be deployed to inspire postmodern global ethics of interconnection – to remind us of our enfleshed similarities and vulnerabilities, the worthiness of well-lived lives, and the possibility of crafting joint hopes for the future? From an activist perspective, what are we doing and what can we do right now in our communities to counteract the public’s growing contempt and suspicion of foreign-others? For rhetoricians, how can we dissect, dismantle, and transform pervasively xenophobic rhetoric of hate, deficiency, and fear? What would a communication-studies-informed ethics of postmodern pragmatism entail? What might this existential calling realize?

Authors should clearly mark in their cover letter that their submission is for this special call. Submissions should be no longer than 2,000 words (excluding references) and be prepared using the same citation conventions as regular submissions.

To submit a manuscript, please visit
Inquiries should be emailed to

Kaleidoscope is a refereed, annually published print and electronic journal devoted to graduate students who develop philosophical, theoretical, and/or practical applications of qualitative, interpretive, and critical/cultural communication research. We welcome scholarship from current graduate students in Communication Studies and related cognate areas/disciplines. We especially encourage contributions that rigorously expand scholars’ understanding of a diverse range of communication phenomena.

In addition to our ongoing commitment to written scholarship, we are interested in ways scholars are exploring the possibilities of new technologies and media to present their research. Kaleidoscope welcomes scholarship forms such as video/audio/photos of staged performance, experimental performance art, or web-based artistic representations of scholarly research. Web-based scholarship should be accompanied by a word-processed artist’s statement of no more than five pages. We invite web-based content that is supplemental to manuscript-based scholarship (e.g., a manuscript discussing a staged performance could be supplemented by video footage from said performance).

Regardless of form, all submissions should represent a strong commitment to academic rigor and should advance salient scholarly discussions. Each submission deemed by the editor to be appropriate to the style and content of Kaleidoscope will receive, at minimum, anonymous assessments by two outside reviewers: (1) a faculty member and (2) an advanced Ph.D. student. For works presented in video/audio/photo form, we may not be able to guarantee author anonymity. The editor of Kaleidoscope will take reasonable action to ensure all authors receive an unbiased review. Reviewers have the option of remaining anonymous or disclosing their identities to the author via the editor.
Submissions must not be under review elsewhere or have appeared in any other published form. Manuscripts should be no longer than 25 pages (double-spaced) or 7,000 words (including notes and references) and can be prepared following MLA, APA, or Chicago style. All submissions should include an abstract of no more than 150 words and have a detached title page listing the author’s/authors’ name(s), institutional affiliation, and contact information. Authors should remove all identifying references from the manuscript. To be hosted on the Kaleidoscope website, media files should not exceed 220 MB in size. Larger files can be streamed within the Kaleidoscope website but must be hosted externally. Authors must hold rights to any content published in Kaleidoscope, and permission must be granted and documented from all participants in any performance or presentation.

Works Cited:
Brammer, John Paul. “Why it Matters that it was Latin Night at Pulse.” Slate, 14 June
2016, Accessed 18 Nov. 2016.
Costello, Maureen B. Southern Poverty Law Center. “The Trump Effect: The Impact of thePresidential Campaign on our Nation’s Schools.” default/files /splc_the_trump_effect.pdf. Accessed 18 Nov. 2016.
de Beauvoir, Simone. The Ethics of Ambiguity. 1948. Open Road, 2015.
Green, Emma. “The Politics of Mass Murder.” The Atlantic, 13 June 2016, Accessed 18 Nov. 2016.
Levinas, Emmanuel. Otherwise Than Being. 1974. Duquesne University Press, 1998.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. Existentialism is a Humanism. 1946. Yale University Press, 2007.
Stone, Michael. “Tulsa Police Execute Unarmed Black Man.” Patheos, 19 Sept. 2016, Accessed 18 Nov. 2016.

Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, manages this website.

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