Call for Papers – OJIS Special Issue

OJIS Special Issue on

Our Sharpest Tools:

Unsettling Empire from Islands and Ocean


Okinawan Journal of Island Studies (OJIS), Volume 5 (March 2024)


Deadline: October 2, 2023

Expected Publication: March 2024



Leora Kava, San Francisco State University,

Ponipate Rokolekutu, San Francisco State University,

Wesley Ueunten, San Francisco State University,


Submission and inquiries: OJIS Editor in Chief, Ayano Ginoza, Research Institute for Islands and Sustainability (RIIS), University of the Ryukyus,


Published by: Research Institute for Islands and Sustainability, University of the Ryukyus


This special issue calls for collaborative dialogues, reflective pieces, creative pieces, and academic essays from scholars, educators, organizers, cultural practitioners, and students to identify, reflect on, and craft dialogue on the sharpest, most effective tools you use for identifying, understanding, and dismantling the thinking and practices of colonialism, empire, and especially, the continuing projects of settler colonialism from positions as people descending from and stewarding island and oceanic places and spaces.


The goal of this special issue is to continue building space for multiple generations of Oceania communities and peoples to discuss and share approaches, strategies, successes, failures, stories, and memories as critical tools for defining and practicing what is truly decolonial and anticolonial as ocean and island peoples, spanning from our ancestral islands and waters to our diasporas, and back again. We hold the critical nature of the times and places we are connected to as the context and drive for this special issue, with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in our immediate experience and memory alongside the critical moment of the climate crisis and climate injustice that island and Oceanic peoples are facing right now.


In the right now, we hold that critical analyses of colonial histories must inform how we approach planning for our futures. By directly naming and understanding colonialism and by naming our practices for resisting and healing the impacts of colonialism on our pasts and present, we create vital tools for shaping our futures. These tools come through our community organizing, educational pathways, curriculum development, local and national political discourses, and approaches to economic development that ultimately culminate in how we center and connect Indigenous Pacific Islander economic and political power.


The nature of island- and ocean-shaped histories, knowledge production, and experiences are infinitely diverse and complex, and therefore our definitions, understandings, and everyday experiences of colonial structures like settler colonialism are necessarily infinite and complex. To honor our complexities, this special issue asks for conversations, approaches, frameworks, reflections, memories, stories, lesson plans, and art work from all generations and all members of our island and ocean communities. We ask for strategies and critical tools that dismantle structures of oppression and separation in order to make way for Oceanic, Island futures that are sovereign, interdependent, and centered on ever widening structures of just relationships.


Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Contemporary and ancestral practices for approaching and defining colonialism, empire, or settler colonialism from Islander perspectives, histories, and experiences
  • Contemporary and ancestral practices for approaching and defining what is decolonial and/or anticolonial practice from Islander perspectives, histories, and experiences
  • Collaboration, relationship-building, and experiences of solidarity as practices for identifying and approaching colonialism, empire, settler colonialism, decolonial, and/or anticolonial work
  • Definitions and critical imaginations of Island and Oceania futures stemming from understanding, defining, and resisting structures of colonialism and empire
  • Strategies of care, healing, and wellness placed in contexts of colonial histories, settler colonialism, and/or decolonization
  • Practices for reclaiming and/or teaching Oceania histories and/or knowledge production
  • Critical imagination and futurism for Oceania communities, spanning home (is)lands and waters and communities in diaspora
  • Climate justice and/or injustice in contexts of colonialism or decolonization
  • Community organizing and education defining and resisting colonialism, settler colonialism, empire
  • (Re)connecting to land and water as decolonial and/or anticolonial practice
  • Reclaiming and revitalizing Indigenous languages as strategies for identifying and approaching empire, settler colonialism, and decolonial and/or anticolonial strategies
  • Family and community genealogies identifying and/or resisting colonial or decolonial processes and impacts
  • Institutional reforms and economic empowerment of indigenous Pacific Islanders in the postcolonial
  • Conceptualizing land, economic development, and Indigeneity in post-colonial Oceania
  • Articulating land dispossession and economic marginalization and envisioning the future of Oceanic peoples
  • Critiques and/or rethinking for Indigenous governing structures and/or Indigenous forms of governance
  • Dismantling the notion of colonial and/or neocolonial benevolence in Oceania


Manuscript Guidelines:

1. Dialogues and Interviews (2,000-3,000 words)

  • We highly encourage collaborative pieces, especially transcribed or edited dialogues or interviews between teachers, students, community organizers, and/or artists.
  • Dialogues and interviews can incorporate multimedia. For example, a transcribed interview could be accompanied with visual/audio/linked clips mentioned in these interviews.

2. Annotated lesson plans, course units, or workshop plans (3,000-4,000 words)

  • We highly encourage submissions of short lesson plans, syllabus units, or workshops (for any age group of students) that teaches definitions, histories, and/or impacts of colonialism or decolonization from Islander perspectives. These would consist of two parts:
  • Part 1: Provide a 2-page (1,000 words maximum) outline of a lesson plan, course unit, or workshop plan that includes brief descriptions and sequence of content, activities, assignments, and/or reflections taught in academic classrooms, community spaces, or both.
  • Part 2: Provide a reflection (3,000 words maximum) on the provided outline that goes into depth about pedagogical choices, inspirations, intentions, and outcomes of the lesson/unit/workshop plan.
3. Creative and/or critical reflections (3,000-4,000 words)
  • Video, audio, images, text
  • Visual art submissions must be in either jpg or gif format. In most cases, art pieces will be printed in black and white, but the journal will maintain the original colors in the open-access version published online.

4. Formal research papers (no longer than 8,000 words)

  • The title of the paper, author’s or authors’ name(s), affiliation(s), and full postal and email addresses should be submitted on a separate page (the title page).
  • Contributors should submit by email an electronic copy of their manuscript as a docx file to the OJIS editorial assistant at
  • Copyrights of accepted manuscripts belong to RIIS.
  • Formatting of English manuscripts for OJIS should follow the most updated edition of the Chicago Manual of Style for author-date style.
  • Manuscripts should be written in English, or if not written in English, must be accompanied by an English translation. Regional varieties of English are acceptable as long as they are consistent throughout the paper. If you have questions about this, please contact the editors.
  • Names used in the manuscript should be written in the order of given name followed by family name. If your manuscript uses a different name-ordering convention, please indicate so on the title page for consideration.
  • Manuscripts should use A4 or letter paper-size with the following format: (a) a margin of 2.5cm (1 inch) should be set for every edge; (b) double-spaced text; and (c) 12 point font in (d) Times New Roman.
  • JPEG or TIFF format is preferred for graphs and photographs. The minimum resolution must be 600dpi for black and white, and 300 dpi for color images. In most cases, visual images will be printed in black and white, but the journal will maintain the original colors in the open-access version published online.
  • Manuscripts should be no longer than 8,000 words, including figures, footnotes/endnotes (if any), and a reference section. Manuscripts should be accompanied by an abstract of about 300 words.
  • Please add a short biography of less than 200 words. Information should include institutional affiliation, publications, and current research projects or interests.
  • Please list up to five keywords for the manuscript.
  • The headings “Abstract,” “Notes,” and “References,” as well as section headings, should be 14 in boldface; subsection headings should be in boldface and italics. If endnotes are used, they should follow the body of the paper and be followed by the list of works cited.
  • All submissions must be formatted according to these guidelines in order to be considered for publication.


All submissions must be formatted according to these guidelines in order to be considered for publication.

Download PDF