Thinking with ocean/s for reconceptualising scholarship in higher education

There are growing moves in higher education to reconceptualise scholarship in contemporary contexts. Located in a wide body of critical work including feminist new materialism, posthumanism, decolonial and indigenous thinking, efforts to reimagine and reconfigure pedagogical and research practices in higher education are proliferating. Scholars are increasingly challenging the dominant colonial, patriarchal, eurowestern logics which post-academic, neoliberal, corporatized academia has intensified.

The #Rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall protests from 2015, heightened neoliberal capitalist imperatives and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic and its amplification of inequalities have set, in particular, South African higher education on a more urgent course towards transformation. Emphasis is increasingly directed towards more radical decolonial efforts to rethink the underlying logics and normative practices of globalised higher education. This has raised important questions regarding knowledge production beyond the South African context, particularly in relation to the use and value of eurowestern theorists in local research, pedagogies and curricula, as well as who gains epistemological and physical access to higher education. On the other hand, we have seen many productive current moves towards employing alternative academic scholarship particularly those which are located in feminist new materialisms, critical posthumanism, and from Human Geography, non-representationalist theory, including the use of Deleuze and Guattari. Using the latter theorists in particular, there has been a focus on cartography, schizoanalysis, corporeal theorising, rhizomatic learning and nomadic thought in socially just pedagogical praxis.

These junctures and innovative genealogies and methodologies are directed towards more precise engagements with transformation toward accessible, Africanised and decolonised curricula, and research agendas and practices. Justice scholarship, including research and pedagogical practices, is increasingly engaging in novel, creative, experimental ways of doing and making knowledge differently, sparking postqualitative, embodied, affective and mobile methodologies. These also disturb the notion of neoliberal capitalist and anthropocentric individualised subjectivity as outside of accountability and responsibility for others and the planetary condition (Braidotti, 2019). Emerging methodologies such as Slow scholarship (Bozalek, 2017; Leibowitz and Bozalek, 2018; Martell, 2014; Mountz et al., 2015), wild methodologies (Jickling et al., 2018), walking methodologies (Arora, 2019; Goulding, 2019; Leane, 2019; Neimanis and Phillips, 2019; O’Neill and Einashe, 2019; Pratt and Johnston, 2019; Somerville et al., 2019; Springgay and Truman, 2018, 2019) as well as indigenous healing walking practices (Wong, 2013), swimming and other watery methodologies (Boon et al., 2018; Ingersoll, 2016; Jue, 202, Probyn, 2016; Shefer, 2021; Shefer & Bozalek, 2022) and other embodied, affective methodologies, exemplify some of the many current efforts to reconceptualise and reconfigure scholarly practices.

This call for papers is focused specifically on thinking-with oceanic scholarly methodologies in relation to higher education pedagogies which takes its inspiration from this growing body of work on Slow scholarship, particularly post-qualitative, embodied and mobile methodologies such as swimming, walking, and foraging as well as hydrofeminist thinking (Neimanis, 2013, 2017a, 2017b). This call for papers will also provide opportunities to question and reconfigure conventional scholarly practices in teaching and learning in higher education (e.g., reading, writing, mentoring, supervising); new processual ways of doing pedagogy which includes epistemology (knowing) being/becoming (ontology) and ethics (what matters) in relation to the ocean.

Papers addressing any of the following will be considered:

• Wild sea swimming methodologies as scholarly practices

• Thinking with material-affective encounters with water and ocean/s for justice scholarship

• Engaging with sea and beach as a hydrofeminist, ethico-political and hauntological scholarship

• Pedagogies of care in the hydrocommons to understand and address the injustices of the apartheid and colonial past and its continuities in the present;

• Transgressive pedagogies, research-creation and indigenous restorative storytelling through engagements with ocean/s;

• Oceanic methodologies as alternative embodied, affective scholarly practices within the larger project of reconceptualising knowledge;

• Experimental writing-thinking with oceanic swimming;

• Aesthetics, art-making and storytelling practices for alternative scholarship in and through ocean/s across temporalities, modalities and disciplines;

• Walking, foraging and other disruptive, indigenous, activist and knowledge-making practices in the littoral spaces of beach.

Please indicate which of the sub-themes in relation to doing academia differently your paper will address. In addition to these sub-themes, we would be looking for papers which pertain to the focus and scope of the Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning journal for this themed issue. The journal accepts papers that pertain to its stated focus and scope, as stated on its website. All articles will be subjected to a double-blind peer-review process. Submissions are encouraged from as many countries in the global South as possible, as well as from marginalised perspectives within the global North.

Guest editors

Nike Romano is an artistic-researcher and lecturer in history and theory of design at the Cape Peninsula University of Techonolgy. She holds a PhD from Utrecht University and the University of the Western Cape. Her most recent publications include: Romano, N. 2022. Touching Text: Feeling My Way Through Research-Creation. Qualitative Inquiry. Romano, N. 2022. Th/reading through mull: Cutting a fashion theory course together-apart, in Murris & Bozalek, Romano, N. 2021. “Writing and Drawing With Venus: Spectral Re-Turns to a Haunted Art History Curriculum”. Education As Change 25 (September):26 pages. Email address:

Tamara Shefer is Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town. Her scholarship has foregrounded the study of youth, gender and sexualities within postcolonial, transnational feminist and critical masculinities thinking. She is also engaged in the project of reconceptualising higher eduation, thinking about and experimenting with critical, feminist, social justice scholarly practices, both pedagogies and research. Most recent publications include: co-editor on Routledge International Handbook of Masculinity Studies (2020, Routledge, with L. Gottzén & U. Mellström) and co-author, with Jeff Hearn, of Knowledge, Power and Young Sexualities: A Transnational Feminist Engagement (2022, Routledge).

Vivienne Bozalek is an Emerita Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of the Western Cape, and Honorary Professor in the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University. She was previously a Senior Professor and Director of Teaching and Learning at the University of the Western Cape. She holds a PhD from Utrecht University. Her research interests and publications include the political ethics of care and social justice, posthumanism and feminist new materialisms, innovative pedagogical practices in higher education, post-qualitative and participatory methodologies. Her most recent co-edited books include Theorising Learning to Teach in Higher Education with Brenda Leibowitz and Peter Kahn (Routledge, 2017), Socially Just Pedagogies: Posthumanist, Feminist and Materialist Perspectives in Higher Education with Rosi Braidotti, Tamara Shefer and Michalinos Zembylas (Routledge 2019), Nancy Fraser and Participatory Parity: Reframing Social Justice in South African Higher Education with Dorothee Hölscher and Michalinos Zembylas (Routledge, 2020), Posthuman and Political Care: Ethics for Reconfiguring Higher Education with Michalinos Zembylas and Joan Tronto (Routledge, 2021), Post-Anthropocentric Social Work: Critical Posthuman and New Materialist Perspectives, with Bob Pease (Routledge, 2021), and Higher education Hauntologies: Living with Ghosts for a Justice-to- come with Michalinos Zembylas, Siddique Motala and Dorothee Hölscher (Routledge, 2021). She is the editor-in-chief of the open-source online journal, Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning. Email address:

Timeframe for Colloquium

Please submit proposed titles of your articles and an extended abstract of about 700 words to the guest editors, Dr Nike Romano, Professors Tamara Shefer, Vivienne Bozalek ( by 29 September 2022. Please use the CRiSTaL author guidelines. Articles are freely accessible and the processing fees are R3200. If you have problems with the website please contact our managing editor, Prof Daniela Gachago

Timeframe for Special Issue

• Colloquium on Thinking with ocean/s for reconceptualising scholarship in higher education - 21 October 2022

• Title and extended abstracts (incorporating an abstract (150 - 200 words) and an introduction (500 words) (abstract and introduction +/- 700 words) – 31 October 2022

• Notification of selected abstracts for themed issue – 11 November 2022

• Submission of manuscript - 28 February 2023

• Reviewer feedback - 30 April 2023

• Reworked manuscript - 31 May 2023

• Final manuscript - 20 June 2023