June 29, 2023
Science for the People seeks proposals for articles, art, and other content for the upcoming issue on “Ways of Knowing” (Volume 26, no. 2, Autumn 2023).
The first of the Science for the People Principles of Unity states that SftP “opposes all forms of oppression, exploitation and marginalization, while recognizing the role of science in these conditions, and the responsibility of science in liberatory struggles against all of these conditions,” and the tenth states that SftP “recognizes scientific knowledge outside of establishment institutions.” In this issue, we build on these two principles to expose the role of establishment science in oppressing colonized peoples around the world. While we unequivocally support Land Back and other movements that address the material harms of colonialism, our focus here is on epistemic colonialism. We are eager to engage with scientists and activists from Indigenous and other communities preserving traditional knowledge to think critically about the intersections between epistemology and all power structures, including imperialism, racism, capitalism, and patriarchy.
The members of this editorial collective recognize that the majority of us have been educated in modern Western science and are embedded in establishment institutions. Thus, our starting point is an engagement with a critical perspective on modern Western science, specifically the ways that it has mystified its own historical roots in capitalism and colonialism, and the epistemic oppression that such mystification has accomplished, especially of colonized peoples. While science has facilitated enormous productive capacity in some societies, engendered a deep knowledge about the natural world, and liberated individuals from some ossified fetters of tradition, it has also violently suppressed traditional forms of knowledge, homogenized worldviews, and led to extractivist and exploitative relations to nature and to fellow humans.
Acknowledging that modern Western science does not have a monopoly over knowledge, our goal in this issue is to create space for paradigms that go beyond dominant ways of knowing and to explore the large canopy of epistemology of which institutionalized, academic research is only one branch.
A second goal is to inspire critical reflection on the role of Indigenous and other traditional knowledge forms in leftist scientific thought and practice. The rise of the Indigenous Knowledge paradigm and the recognition of various traditional and non-Western epistemologies raise both exciting opportunities and considerable challenges. 1 Throughout much of the twentieth century, leftist scientists and political leaders around the world considered rooting out so-called “superstition” to be an essential part of building modern, liberated societies. While what counted as superstition varied, it usually included not only religious beliefs but other forms of knowledge and cultural practices that had arisen within “traditional” social structures that these leftist modernizers regarded as backward, hierarchical, and oppressive. We continue to discuss this history critically, and to examine the intersection of class with the decolonization of scientific knowledge.
As we seek insight from Indigenous and traditional cultures, we must respect their knowledge and learn from their practices without fetishizing them, adopting an extractivist attitude, or failing to recognize the tensions and problems that characterize all cultural systems. Marxists in SftP and other organizations have much to learn from the Indigenous Knowledge movement;2 and we have clearly moved beyond the model adopted by so many leftists in the previous century, in which ways of knowing outside of Western science were labeled as superstition and targeted for transformation or even destruction. At the same time, we recognize the need to maintain the same critical attitude toward social hierarchies and mystifying epistemologies that has enabled our deconstruction of modern Western science and the power structures in which it is embedded. The insights of Marxist analysis should lead us to carefully consider appeals to tradition, the sacred, and the authority of elders in hierarchical social groups, and to ask questions about class oppression, which is often considerably less represented in Indigenous Knowledge and neo-traditionalist circles. We especially seek to learn from the work of Indigenous and post-colonial scholars who treat Indigenous and other traditional epistemologies as living systems that evolve to address new material and political realities.
To broaden our understanding of different ways of knowing and to, by means of situated contexts and relational accountability, create practices for interacting with nature in ways that are non-extractive, unfettered by hierarchy, and truly collaborative, we invite contributions addressing the following topics. We are especially enthusiastic about submissions from Indigenous communities beyond those in North America, including the Global South:
- Indigenous land stewardship and resilience
- Anti-colonial research methodology
- Diverse forms of knowledge production and dissemination in Indigenous and/or traditional cultures
- Connections between Indigenous Knowledge and science, focusing especially on contributions Indigenous people have made to bridge these epistemologies
- Ways in which the Indigenous Knowledge paradigm has challenged earlier leftist/Marxist tendencies to consider “traditional” ways of knowing as oppressive and superstitious; concerns about the need to maintain a critical perspective regarding non-materialist and potentially oppressive elements of such ways of knowing
- Examinations of why and what types of traditional knowledge have failed to be legitimized or have been actively suppressed by scientific institutions
- Practices to preserve traditional knowledge and food sources from erasure
- Rediscovery and mourning of Indigenous ancestral knowledge lost during genocide and expulsion
Deadline for submissions: July 29, 2023
- We ask prospective authors to provide a detailed outline.
- We accept proposals for features, opinions, book and media reviews, artwork and more. You can read more about the kinds of articles we publish and our rates here.
- Please keep outlines under one page and image uploads to 20 Mb total.
- Science for the People articles are geared toward non-specialists, and are written in a journalistic format and from a radical perspective. We consider submissions from scientists across the STEM fields, scholars working in science and technology studies, as well as non-scientists and non-specialists. We especially encourage submissions from activists and those organizing in the sciences, and those working in the humanities and arts at their intersection of science and technology. We particularly welcome women, people of color, non-binary individuals, and others traditionally underrepresented in these fields to send submissions to Science for the People.
Science for the People busca propuestas de artículos, expresiones artísticas y otros contenidos para el próximo número sobre “Formas de Conocer” (Volumen 26, nº 2, otoño de 2023).
- Resiliencia y administración Indígena de la tierra
- Metodologías de investigación anticolonial
- Diversas formas de producción y difusión de conocimientos al interior de culturas Indígenas y/o tradicionales.
- Conexiones entre el conocimiento indígena y la ciencia, en particular contribuciones desde los pueblos Indígenas para conectar estas epistemologías.
- Formas en las que el paradigma del conocimiento Indígena ha desafiado anteriores tendencias izquierdistas/marxistas que consideran las formas “tradicionales” de conocimiento como opresivas y supersticiosas; preocupaciones sobre la necesidad de mantener una perspectiva crítica con respecto a los elementos no materialistas y potencialmente opresivos de tales formas de conocer.
- Análisis de por qué y qué tipos de conocimientos tradicionales no han sido legitimados o han sido activamente suprimidos por instituciones científicas.
- Prácticas para preservar conocimientos tradicionales y fuentes de alimentos y prevenir su supresión.
- Redescubrimiento y duelo por conocimientos ancestrales Indígenas perdidos durante el genocidio y la expulsión del territorio
Normas para propuestas:
Fecha límite para someter propuestas: 29 de julio del 2023.
- Se requiere que los autores candidatos provean un esquema detallado de su pieza.
- Se aceptan propuestas sobre reportajes, opiniones, reseñas de libros y medios de comunicación, obras de arte y mucho más. Puede consultar nuestras tarifas aquí.
- Las propuestas tienen un máximo de una página y las imágenes no deben sobrepasar los 20 Mb.
- Los artículos de Science for the People están orientados al público general y son escritos en un formato periodístico, desde una perspectiva radical. Consideramos propuestas de científicxs en todos los campos STEM, de académicxs que trabajen en estudios relacionados a la ciencia y tecnología, así como de personas que no sean científicxs o especialistas. Solicitamos especialmente propuestas de activistas y líderes en la ciencia, así como de personas en los campos de humanidades y arte en su intersección con la ciencia. Invitamos especialmente a mujeres, minorías raciales, personas no binarias y aquellas tradicionalmente infrarrepresentadas en estos campos a que envíen propuestas a Science for the People.
- It is not our role to offer a definition of the Indigenous Knowledge movement or the Indigenous research paradigm, although we hope this magazine issue helps to develop a more nuanced understanding of both. We also recognize that the term “Indigenous” can be used to characterize the relationship of a people with the land they inhabit, with the history of settler colonialism or as an adjective for concepts and artifacts they possess. Relatedly, we do not see Indigenous epistemology as a monolith, and do not want to use the term to erase the diversity of thought in Indigenous nations across the world.
- John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Hannah Holleman, “Marx and the Indigenous,” Monthly Review 71, no. 9 (February 2020), https://monthlyreview.org/2020/02/01/marx-and-the-indigenous/.