Ahmed Ansari | New York University |


Abstract Submission Deadline: January 08, 2024

Abstract Approval Deadline: January 15, 2024

Draft Submission Deadline: March 25, 2024

Expected Publication Date: August 2024


Decolonization has become a major theme in design practice and research, and the spate of scholarship produced under different terms―‘decolonizing design(s)’, ‘respectful design’, ‘design activism’, ‘pluriversal design’, to name a few―signals a significant turn in the field that deals with addressing various historical and entrenched forms and relations of Anglo-European domination. This call for proposals aims to take a critical look at the production, dissemination, and consumption of knowledge within and outside the design academy, with a particular focus on claims to decolonization; a focus on justice and emancipation, and a turn towards issues of ethics and politics that have become prevalent over the past few years in design discourse and praxis.

We ask, in framing this proposal, in an act of sincerity: How has decolonization been read, and taken up, in design academy, especially insofar as designers continue to produce knowledge related to their field and its practices, and its outcomes and impacts in the world? Have claims to ‘decolonize’ design practice, research, and scholarship been sincere and true to the spirit, principles, insights, and terms of decolonial praxis; and have they made good on the latter? Or has, to use Tuck and Yang’s phrasing, decolonization been relegated to being just another metaphor? To what extent can we truly say that there have been genuine attempts to ‘decolonize’ design, especially in its claims to (self)knowledge, knowledge about others and their world(s), and knowledge that feeds into intervention(s)?

We offer a series of themes and provocations, presented below, that we would like potential contributors to think around, about, and through, that deal with the discursive and textual landscapes of the ‘decolonial turn’ in design. We welcome critical readings and appraisals of:

  • Epistemological, ontological, and ethical claims:
  • Design’s ontology, and what ‘decolonization’ means in design research, praxis, or scholarship;
  • Fundamental concepts at play in the decolonial turn in design, e.g., ‘coloniality’, ‘pluriversality’, ‘indigeneity’, etc.;
  • Design epistemologies and questions regarding ‘what’ constitutes knowledge in design, and ‘how’;
  • Truth claims, regimes of truth, and ontologies-at-work in the decolonial turn;
  • Invocations, deployments, or uses of non-Anglo-European knowledges;
  • Ethical and political arguments and/or commitments in the field.
  • General, institutional, and disciplinary contexts and histories:
  • Design research programs vis-à-vis the larger milieus and agendas of modern conservatories and universities, and extra- or non-academic institutions;
  • Design research vis-à-vis disciplinary and institutional histories of the global academy;
  • Institutionalized diversity work in design research and practice;
  • Knowledge production in contexts, sites, and communities outside of and beyond academic institutions.
  • Methodologies, methods, and research practices generally employed in design research and practice:
  • The state of ‘decolonizing method(s)’ in design research;
  • The limits and horizons of design methodology(ies) and method(s), in both Anglo-European and non-Anglo-European contexts;
  • Reflexivity in design research and praxis;
  • Ontological difference (race, culture, ethnicity, religion, gender, etc.) and method(s);
  • Education and pedagogy for design researchers.

We would be particularly interested in essays that engage with perspectives from postcolonial theory, decolonial theory, indigenous studies, settler-colonial studies, Black studies, critical race theory, history, cultural anthropology, and philosophy of technology.

We ask for contributions that are introspective, and we welcome all manners of essays―theoretical, empirical, and visual―that take a critical perspective, situating specific arguments around claims and projects, within the span of the decolonial turn thus far. We encourage provocations that will make readers think, and proposals for alternatives or other possibilities in, adjacent to, and outside the landscapes of design.

Submit your abstract through by January 08, 2024.

Only abstracts written in English will be accepted. Please read the instructions for authors below.


SUBMISSION Guidelines (Key points)

Please read the instructions for authors.

In the first stage, submissions must include:

— An English title.

— An English abstract of approximately 500 words.

— A Reference List (bibliography) providing the information necessary to identify the framework related to the proposal (including references not cited in the abstract but planned to be cited in the final article).

— Five keywords.

— A personal profile of each author (150 words max.).

Please, upload a Word document (not a PDF).

After abstracts are accepted, authors will be asked to submit an English language contribution of 3,500- 4,000 words, with references in APA Style, 7th ed. (the text should be anonymized for blind peer-review). Please, upload a Word document (not a PDF).

Corrections after peer review will need to take place in May 2023. The issue will be published in August 2023.