Call for Proposals - JCIHE

Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education
Monday, June 1, 2020

Call for Proposals

Exploring the Role of Indigenous Knowledge in
Postsecondary Policies and Practices 
Toward Sustainable Development 


Guest Editors:
Dr. Marcellus Mbah, Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University &

Dr. Ane Turner Johnson, Associate Professor, Rowan University  

Proposals due by June 1, 2020. Publication date Summer 2021. 

Universities have an integral role in the development of communities; this is underpinned by the notion that universities possess a social responsibility to be agents of change in relation to society’s socio-economic, political, and environmental issues (Chile & Black, 2015). As universities continue to metamorphose in their role in relation to their local, regional, national, and continental commitment (McCowan & Schendel, 2016), international bodies such as the United Nations have highlighted the need to include and protect Indigenous peoples and cultures in interventions aimed at benefiting local communities (Collins & Rhodes, 2010; Weichselgartner & Kasperson, 2010). Consequently, the quest for sustainable development requires an exploration of different forms of Indigenous knowledge, practices and adaptations within a symbiotic framework of engaged learning and research (Mbah, 2018).

This knowledge “incorporates experiences, skills, and techniques, remembered and accumulated” (Turner et al., 2008, p. 46). Indigenous knowledge is best understood as reflecting traditional, empirical, and revealed understandings of the world associated with “economic, cultural, political, spiritual, ecological and material forces and conditions” (Dei, 2000, p. 115). This knowledge transcends disciplinarity and is hard to define (Mawere, 2005). Examples from our research in The Gambia and Zambia include traditional justice approaches to address conflict, agricultural applications, reproductive beliefs and methods, health and disease prevention practices, among many others.

When engaged authentically, Indigenous knowledge can have a decolonizing effect and contribute to the epistemological diversity of the university (Collins & Mueller, 2016), particularly when co-created via community engagement (Moore, 2014). For example, preliminary findings from our research show institutions incorporating Indigenous knowledge into coursework in order to increase the relevance of graduates to development. Additionally, the university created a socio-cultural research program that promotes and preserves intangible cultural heritage, demonstrating that universities can maximize the relevance of local Indigenous cultures, strategies, and adaptations for sustainable development, as well as mitigate the monofaceted Eurocentric epistemology inherent in modern education (Higgs & Moeketsi, 2012; Barongo-Muweke, 2016; Gorski, 2008; Tuck & Yang, 2012). 

The call for proposals for this special issue seeks work that explores how aspects of the university’s mission can capture and maximize Indigenous know-how and strategies for sustainable development. We seek to contribute to the understanding of the relevance of Indigenous knowledge systems within the framework of engaged teaching and learning and to what extent the Eurocentric epistemology inherent in modern education can be mitigated for development. We seek work for this special issue that is diverse, exploring Indigenous knowledge in higher education via an array of methodologies, geographies, communities, and theoretical orientations. The special issue has the potential to inform the relationship between participation of higher education institutions in fostering sustainable development, supporting formal engagement with Indigenous knowledge, and bringing to light collaborations between universities and communities to address critical problems faced by societies across the globe.

Proposals should be 500 words and submitted on or before June 1st, 2020. Authors will be notified by July 1st of their acceptance. Completed articles should be 3,500 - 5,500 words and submitted by October 1st, 2020. All articles will undergo a blind-review peer-editing process. 

To submit proposal:

Contact Information
Contact Person: 
Dr. Ane Turner Johnson