Call for Papers: Reflecting on Freire: A praxis of radical love and critical hope for science education

Co-editors: Betzabé Torres - Olave, Alejandra Frausto, Sara Tolbert

Paulo Freire, whose 100th birthday we celebrate this year, has been influential for many science education scholars, teachers, students, and organisations, working in different corners of the world towards social, epistemic, ecological, and environmental justice at all levels. In these times of political, economic, and ecological precarity, we reflect on Freire’s legacy of hope and love as a legacy that lives within all of us, through our educational and pedagogical praxis.

Science learning spaces are not removed from the realities of society.  As such, science education needs different stories, stories of disruption and dissensus, stories that counter narrate the current state of the world in the name of political clarity (Madkins & McKinney de Royston, 2019; Morales Doyle, 2019; Tolbert & Bazzul, 2017).   We imagine how a Freirean vision and praxis for science education, one that is driven by hope, love, and solidarity, could be the “good medicine” science education, and our societies, need in these uncertain and precarious times.

We, in the Freirean tradition, embrace the humility of knowing ourselves and our field as unfinished (Freire, 1970). Hence, we desire to grow and degrow with others and with our natural world "in the precarious adventure of transforming and recreating the world" (Freire, 1970,  p.56). We invite others in science education, to dream with us, to embrace and nurture our collective becoming. Recent critiques of critical pedagogy have suggested that it does not go far enough in terms of systemic transformation (Ford, 2014), or that, “critical pedagogy has largely been disconnected from its organizing roots” (Tarlau, 2014, p.369), though Freirean praxis as embodied by Freire himself did not disconnect critical pedagogy from the liberatory project of social/political transformation. However, Freire encouraged others not to follow him but to reinvent him (Freire, 1978). In the spirit of conscientizacao, we also welcome critiques of critical pedagogy that nourish our critical imaginative spirits, and that grapple with the complexities of a science education for liberation. We strongly encourage conceptual, reflective, or empirical pieces that highlight themes of political clarity, hope, love, and solidarity in/through transnational collaborations and/or diverse contexts. Other creative works (poetry, fiction) that address these themes are also welcomed.

We seek submissions that engage:

  1. Stories of solidarity, e.g., how teachers, students, families, organizers, and communities can work together to disrupt and dismantle inequities in science and education, in the name of radically reimagining what science education is and can be--connecting with or even galvanizing larger movements for change (e.g., Morales-Doyle & Frausto, 2021; Williams & Tolbert, 2018).
  2. Processes of becoming, rooted in understanding the complexity of critical becomings as a journey (or reflective journeys of becoming) (e.g., McCausland, 2020)
  3. Critical engagements with Freire and/or critical pedagogy (e.g., hooks, 1994) in science education (eg. Santos, 2009)
  4. Critical pedagogy as pockets of resistance and counter-fatalistic/counterhegemonic disruptions to the status quo (e.g. Moura, 2019)
  5. Intersections between critical pedagogy and other relevant educational projects or theoretical traditions that have implications for science education (e.g., hooks, Vygotsky, prolepsis, etc) or dialogues between/across theories (Foucault/Freire, feminisms/Freire, decoloniality/Freire) (e.g. Carter, 2010)
  6. Pedagogies of hope and love in science education (Bazzul & Tolbert, 2019; Galamba & Matthews, 2021; Patterson & Gray, 2019)
  7. Other creative works

The deadline for sending extended abstracts of 800-1000 words for this special issue is 20th of August 2021. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 30th of September. Full manuscripts must be submitted by 1st of February 2022.

Please send abstracts to


Bazzul, J., & Tolbert, S. (2019). Love, politics and science education on a damaged planet. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 14, 303–308.

Carter, L. (2010). The Armchair at the Borders: The “Messy” Ideas of Borders and Border Epistemologies Within Multicultural Science Education Scholarship. Science Education, 94(3), 428-447

Ford, D. R. (2014). A critical pedagogy of ineffability: Identity, education and the secret life of whatever. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 46(4), 380-392.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Continuum

Freire, P. (1978). Pedagogy in Process: The letters to Guinea-Bissau. Bloomsbury.

Galamba, A., & Matthews, B. (2021). Science education against the rise of fascist and authoritarian movements: towards the development of a pedagogy for democracy. Cultural Studies of Science Education.

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to Transgress. Routledge.

Madkins, T.C., & McKinney de Royston, M. (2019). Illuminating political clarity in culturally relevant science instruction. Science Education, 103, 1319–1346.

McCausland, J.D. (2020). Learning “real” science: Storying whiteness in university science labs. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy.

Morales-Doyle, D. (2019). There is no equity in a vacuum: on the importance of historical, political, and moral considerations in science education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 14, 485–491.

Morales-Doyle, D., & Frausto, A. (2021). Youth participatory science: a grassroots science curriculum framework. Educational Action Research, 29(1), 60-78. 

Moura, C. (2019). O Ensino de Ciências e a Justiça Social – questões para o debate. Caderno Brasileiro de Ensino de Física, 36(1), 1-7.

Patterson, A. & Gray, S. (2019) Teaching to Transform: (W)holistic Science Pedagogy. Theory Into Practice, 58(4), 328-337.

Santos, W., (2008). Scientific Literacy: A Freirean Perspective as a Radical View of Humanistic Science Education. Science Education, 93(2), 361-382.

Tarlau, R. (2014). From a Language to a Theory of Resistance: Critical Pedagogy, the Limits of “Framing,” and Social Change. Educational Theory, 64(4), 369-392.

Tolbert, S., & Bazzul, J. (2017). Toward the sociopolitical in science education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 12, 321–330.

Williams, J. & Tolbert, S. (2018). Finding the freedom to resist: Connecting everyday and spectacular resistance. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space Online Forum on Walking out: Teaching, working, and striking on the neoliberal campus. Available online at