Perspectives on Politics Call For Papers: Black Lives Matter Special Issue

Following the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, among others, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is at the center of American politics. It is widespread, diverse, and the protests it leads have broad popular support according to public opinion polling. History suggests that protest is essential to the health of democracies. The most effective protests force the political establishment to enact policy reforms that benefit an aggrieved party, typically a marginalized group. Even when movements fail, protests often put grievances on the public agenda for a sustained period of time. Having said this, seven years after its founding in the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin, BLM has achieved some major successes. If the diversity of the recent protests is any indication, BLM has the potential to change the way that Americans deal with race and racism, and offers the chance to correct for the past failures of American society to address race-based injustice.  Indeed, some have argued that this is a watershed event, when a movement is capable of triggering major reform. For others, the current moment is just that: a moment, one that will trigger a major backlash, and will soon pass with nothing to show for it. With this in mind, Perspectives on Politics calls for submission of papers for a special issue, the purpose of which is to explore the state of BLM, its impact, and its potential ramifications. Learn more.

We encourage papers from a range of perspectives, subfields, and approaches within the discipline.

Christopher Sebastian Parker of the University of Washington will serve as Guest Editor for this special issue. Any paper that addresses the movement and its effects is welcome, but we are particularly interested in submissions that address the following issues:

  • How is the current climate similar to/different from earlier moments that led to  race-based upheaval and transformation?
  • How, if at all, does the pandemic affect inter-racial movement alliances? Is the current situation a one-off, or does it represent a major change in race relations?
  • What, if anything, is the relationship between the BLM protests and the anti-lockdown movement? How might attitudes about one affect perceptions of the other?
  • How has BLM been used as fodder by antithetical movements that are seeking to block reform on race or other salient reform efforts?
  • What does the rapid growth and enhanced visibility and influence of BLM tell us about when and how social organizing and media attention serve as triggering events that crystallize into a broad and sustained protest movement?
  • What’s the relationship between BLM in the US and similar movements abroad? In other words, what are the continuities and discontinues with anti-racist movements abroad?
  • How might theories of justice, equality, liberty, order, non-domination, solidarity, or other political values inform the BLM movement, and vice-versa?
  • What, if any, is the relationship between BLM and theories of intersectionality?
  • What is the relationship between BLM and law enforcement, and how, if at all, has it changed since 2013?

Submission Guidelines — Deadline: May 31, 2021

Length: manuscripts must not exceed 12,000 words, including notes and references.

Style, Format, References, and Endnotes: Please refer to the style guide for Perspectives. As explained in the “Instructions for Authors,” tables, figures, and appendix materials may be included within manuscripts or uploaded as separate files.

Submission Instructions: Manuscripts must be submitted electronically through the online manuscript processing system called Editorial Manager. First-time users should register and create a profile. Returning users may log in and continue using their existing profile, and may update their user information at any time. Please be sure to indicate that your submission is designated for this Special Issue through Editorial Manager.

Submissions will include a 200-word abstract, keywords (for indexing), and a brief author’s biographical note (100 words or less) at the time of initial submission.

Review of Submissions: Articles submitted for consideration in this Special Issue will undergo Perspectives‘ standard review process. The first step in this process is a blind, in-house assessment by the editorial staff to determine whether the submission is of sufficient quality and an appropriate fit for both the journal and the Special Issue. Those submissions that fall within the thematic focus for this Special Issue and clear the internal review process will be sent out for external review according to a standard double-blind referee process. Finally, based on referee reports and their own careful readings of the article, the editor-in-chief and  the associate editor will then decide whether to accept a submission, reject it, or offer the author(s) the opportunity to revise and resubmit the manuscript.


Please direct questions about this Special Issue to our editorial staff at

About Perspectives on Politics

Perspectives on Politics seeks to provide a space for broad and synthetic discussion within the political science profession and between the profession and the broader scholarly and reading publics. Such discussion necessarily draws on and contributes to the scholarship published in the more specialized journals that dominate our discipline. At the same time, Perspectives seeks to promote a complementary form of broad public discussion and synergistic understanding within the profession that is essential to advancing research and promoting scholarly community.

Perspectives seeks to nurture a political science public sphere, publicizing important scholarly topics, ideas, and innovations, linking scholarly authors and readers, and promoting broad reflexive discussion among political scientists about the work that we do and why this work matters.