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Communication for Social Justice Activism

The specter of social injustice looms large, as the number and reach of social injustices grow daily. Communication scholars (both researchers and teachers) are well positioned to confront injustice, as activism, fundamentally, demands engaging in various communication forms and practices. Communication for social justice activism involves people (including communication researchers, teachers, students, organizational employees, and community members) using communication theories, methods, pedagogies, and other practices to work with and for oppressed, marginalized, and underresourced groups and communities, as well as with activist groups and organizations, to intervene into inequitable systems and make their structures and practices more just.

This book series offers a new and important outlet for communication scholarship that promotes social justice activism that can be employed to teach communication courses and conduct engaged communication research. The goal is to weave social justice activism into all levels of the communication curriculum, with books in this series serving as primary and supplementary texts in undergraduate and graduate communication courses, and as indispensable resources for communication scholars engaging in social justice communication activism teaching and research. 

Books Sought: The series will publish three types of books: 

1. Textbooks: These books offer a general overview of a topic for an undergraduate communication course, covering traditional material but through a communication for social justice activism lens. In addition to covering theories and principles, these textbooks offer concrete communication competencies, practices, and examples for students and others (e.g., organizational members) to learn how to intervene into inequitable systems and structures to promote social justice. Titles of these textbooks might include “Public Speaking Activism for Social Justice” and “Organizational Communication Activism for Social Justice.” These books include pedagogical features associated with textbooks (e.g., chapter overview, chapter goals/topics, summary tables and charts, discussion questions, and suggested readings), and, potentially, will be accompanied by instructor manuals. These textbooks, thus, infuse social justice activism into communication courses.

Upcoming textbooks include: 

  • The Power in Numbers by Erica Scharrer and Srividya Ramasubramanian (Fall 2020)
  • Creating Change: Organizational Communication Activism for Social Justice by Stephanie Norander. (Spring 2021)

2. Course Content-focused Books: These books focus on particularly important content that is covered in undergraduate and graduate communication courses, serving as supplemental books for those courses. On one level, these books are intended for educators who use a traditional textbook but want to expose students to a communication for social justice activism perspective. For example, “health communication campaigns” is a significant topic that is covered in an introductory health communication course; consequently, an appropriate book might be titled “Social Justice Health Communication Campaigns.” These books explain what social justice communication activism means with regard to the topic examined and identify concrete communication principles and practices that can be employed by students and others (e.g., health-care professionals) to intervene into inequitable systems and structures to promote social justice (e.g., increasing access to health care by marginalized populations). The books also supplement, or examine directly, critical issues, tensions, and communication entanglement s to explicate how these dynamics influence processes and outcomes of social justice communication activist practices.

Upcoming coursebooks include: 

  • A Comedian and An Activist Walk Into a Bar: The [Serious] Role of Comedy in Social Justice by Caty Borum-Chattoo and Lauren Feldman (Spring 2020)

3. Case Studies: These books examine specific, extended examples of original communication activism studies, in which researchers intervene, working with others, have used communication theories, methods, pedagogies, and other practices to promote social justice. The books describe purposes of the research, the site(s) in which research was conducted, methods employed to document endeavors, outcomes, and lessons learned from the research. For example, a book might document a communication campaign that a researcher conducted, working with social movement groups, to prevent the execution of a person on death row or to overturn an unjust law that discriminates against those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (and/or questioning). These books, thus, are intended for communication scholars (including graduate students) who are interested in conducting social justice activism research.

Upcoming casebooks include: 

  • Engaged Communication Scholarship: Reimagining Place, Community Change, and Social Justice in the City by George Villanueva (Fall 2019)
  • Ella Baker’s Catalytic Leadership Approach: A Primer on Community Engagement and Communication for Social Justice Leadership by Patricia S. Parker (Spring 2020)
  • Allied Tactics: Public Responses to Hate Speech by Billie Murray (Fall 2020)

Submission Process

Proposals for the series should be submitted to: Lyn Uhl, Executive Editor, Communication Studies at

While UC Press Editors prefer electronic queries, you may send a hard copy submission to: Lyn Uhl, University of California Press, 155 Grand Ave, Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94612-3758, USA. 

If you would like to have your hard copy submission returned to you after consideration, please state this in writing and include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Please do not send original art with your submission.  

What Should be in a Proposal? 

Go to the Authors: Book Proposal Guidelines and scroll down to read more under What Should Be in Your Proposal?  


  • Patricia Parker, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Lawrence R. Frey, University of Colorado Boulder


  • Kevin Carragee, Suffolk University
  • Mari Castañeda, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Lynn Harter, Ohio University
  • Stephen Hartnett, University of Colorado Denver
  • Katherine Grace Hendrix, University of Memphis
  • Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, University of Texas at Austin