Journal of Intellectual Freedom & Privacy

Social Justice and Intellectual Freedom: Working within a Divided Nation Call for papers

The Freedom to Read Foundation is working on a symposium that will focus on the topics of social justice and intellectual freedom. The goal of the symposium is to create a space to reflect and explore how these topics do, and do not, intersect, and the ways that advocates for social justice and intellectual freedom may work together to empower various communities’ voices during this time of a divided nation.

Challenges to materials are increasing. Gaps in access to information and technology are growing. Questions surrounding “cancel culture,” meeting room use, and the First Amendment right to protest are becoming heated. In addition, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and other minorities are underrepresented as authors, therefore limiting access to representation in literature and other resources.

As we continue to navigate and attempt to understand all of this, there has been a dramatic increase surrounding the topic of and people’s actions related to social justice. What takes the topic to a new level is its discussion and within a very vocal and visibly divided nation.

Previous discussions of social justice took place in siloes, or it wasn’t discussed openly at all. Now, more than ever before, freedom of speech rights have broadened the platform for conveying our thoughts related to social justice.

Some of the guiding questions we can use to help us understand the research and discussion around this topic would begin with exploring questions such as:

  • How do intellectual freedom and social justice support one another?
  • How can we utilize both intellectual freedom and social justice to mitigate harm to marginalized groups?
  • How can we foster a stronger understanding about the ways intellectual freedom supports social justice?
  • How can society’s intellectual freedom and social justice stakeholders work together to promote and elevate underrepresented voices on this topic?
  • Is it possible to create a framework for ourselves and the public to engage with these intersecting topics constructively?

In this special issue of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy, we seek to hear about the history of the intersections of these two topics, the current conjunctions and challenges as they interact, and ways to forge a deeper understanding of how they support and enhance one another.

The Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy publishes two kinds of articles:

Features: Original research articles submitted for peer review. Submissions should be 4,000-8,000 words (references included), formatted in Chicago Style (author-date), and anonymized for double-blind peer review.

Commentaries: Shorter essays, think pieces, or general commentary on topical issues, controversies, and emerging questions for the field. Commentaries are typically 500–1000 words (references included) and formatted in Chicago Style (author-date). Commentaries will be reviewed by the editorial staff.

Deadline for submissions: August 31, 2022

Deadline for reviews: October 31, 2022

Deadline for revisions: November 30, 2022

Publication of special issue: Winter 2023

To submit, follow Journal of Intellectual Freedom & Privacy guidelines, using the “SUBMISSIONS” button at the top right of the home page. Please note “SPECIAL ISSUE SUBMISSION: Social Justice” in the “comments to the editor” section during submission. Questions should be addressed to the editor, Shannon M. Oltmann (