CFP: Failure Pedagogies: Systems, Risks, Futures

CALL FOR PROPOSALS (also accessible at

Failure Pedagogies: Systems, Risks, Futures

Edited by Allison D. Carr and Laura R. Micciche

Under contract with Peter Lang Publishing for the Education Series

In the midst of cultural and pedagogical celebrations of failure, this collection takes stock of failure’s unlikely popularity. Who is allowed to fail? When is failure generative and when is it ruinous? Is the valorization of failure an effect of toxic whiteness? Can failure accomplish cultural work that resists duplicating a bootstraps philosophy?

To address these questions, we focus on pedagogical settings—classrooms, universities, and the conventions that reign there—as well as cultural, rhetorical, and affective norms and rituals that teach acceptable and unacceptable forms of failure. Lynn Worsham's conceptualization of pedagogy as a broad cultural practice guides our thinking. For her, pedagogy is a mechanism that positions people in a “hierarchy of power relations [and] organizes their affective relations to that location, to their own condition of subordination, and to others in that hierarchical structure” (“Going Postal” 223). Building on this idea, our collection will explore how permission to fail is granted unevenly across social locations. Critical and creative interdisciplinary work might address the following ideas (among others):

  • Analyses of dominant political, social, economic, or institutional systems and their relation to failure

  • Structures or sites governing failure pedagogy: their limitations and affordances

  • How power and its lack complicate the generative, innovative potential of failure

  • Consequences of embracing failure in varying contexts (classrooms, body studies, health and wellness discourses, pop culture, public policy debates)

  • Risks related to performing failure in educational or cultural contexts, whether performance means gender play or subversion, political activism for social justice, or writing that does not adhere to academic conventions

  • The potential of failure to be a feral force of disruption (not a “detour” on the road to success)

  • The potential role of failure in ongoing and future critical, emancipatory, and/or social justice projects

Just as contributions should explore the limits and possibilities of failure, they may also explore forms that stretch the boundaries of how scholars might think through the layered and complex questions that any deep examination of failure raises. Therefore, we welcome a range of forms, including critical essays, manifestoes, white papers, personal essays, poems, comics, and hybrid genres. Text-dominant submissions should not exceed 6,000 words. Regardless of genre, contributions should aim toward  a broad readership.

Proposals (~250 words + works cited) should describe the proposed argument or main question under investigation, intended goal of the project, and a rationale for the proposed genre. Proposals and 2-page cv due 15 October 2018. Send questions and proposals to Allison Carr ( and Laura Micciche (


Tentative Timeline:

Proposals: October 15

Editors’ initial decisions: November 15

Complete manuscript drafts: January 15

Editorial feedback: February 15

Final manuscripts due: March 15