Call for Proposals: Journal of Social Issues


Special Issue of the Journal of Social Issues


Deadline to Submit Proposals: February 1, 2017

Almost 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) outlined a vision for the role of the behavioral scientist in the Civil Rights Movement (King, 1968). Delivering an address to the American Psychological Association in 1967, that was subsequently published in a 1968 issue of the Journal of Social Issues, MLK focused on the successes of the Civil Rights Movement but also on the challenges that lie ahead. He called for psychologists and other behavioral scientists to bring the tools of their science to bear on some of these important challenges. 

MLK described three areas to which these scholars could contribute, including diversity and leadership, how effective particular political actions are, and understanding the psychology of resistance to dominant, and creation of new, political ideologies, along with the psychological mechanisms employed to cope with collective oppression. In the 50 years since MLK’s remarks, psychologists and other behavioral scientists have been busy developing a vast literature on topics related to those outlined by MLK. However, it remains to be seen just what role psychologists and other behavioral scientists have had, and continue to play, in answering the types of questions coming out of progressive social movements for civil, and other, rights. This special issue will focus on contemporary research in psychology and behavioral science that embody the three areas of research outlined in MLK’s call to behavioural scientists. 

We welcome proposals for empirical manuscripts in the following three areas: diversity and leadership, the efficacy of political action, and how the disadvantaged resist and develop alternatives to oppression. Please send an extended abstract (2-4 pages, double spaced) describing your proposed contribution, including how the proposed manuscript connects to one of the three areas outlined above, to Andrew L. Stewart ( by February 1, 2017. We strongly prefer contributions from non-U.S. contexts with a critical perspective on race, and scholars of color are especially encouraged to submit a proposal. We also recommend reading MLK’s original speech found here. Full manuscripts will be solicited at a later date.