Call for Special Issue Articles - Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

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Special Issue – _________ The Police

The Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties (CRCL) at Stanford Law School seeks articles for a Special Issue focusing on the movement to rethink American policing in Spring 2021.

For this special issue, we especially welcome work from activists, practitioners, government officials, and other stakeholders.

About the Special Issue

The massive, nationwide uprisings sparked in the spring of 2020 by the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, and many others have been met with police brutality on a shocking scale. The constant fact of unaccountable police killings of Black Americans and the outrage arising from the repressive response to those protesting them have coalesced into a firestorm of calls for changes to the police.

Those seeking change have used a variety of words to articulate what should be done with American policing: Reform, Rethink, Reimagine, Defund, Abolish. While the discourse around these topics has been contentious, a consensus calling for significant changes to the policing status quo has emerged from across the political spectrum. The breadth of the suggested changes raises a number of questions:

● What are the most effective legal means of curbing police abuses in a decentralized system? Broader avenues for bringing civil suits? More aggressive criminal prosecutions? Culture change within police institutions?

● What would “success” in this context look like? What interventions have been successful in the past?

● What are the varying roles played by federal, state, and local government actors in efforts to address problems with the police? What are the distinct political and practical challenges that they face?

● What distinguishes abolition from incremental reforms?

● How has the role of the police expanded historically? What does a focus on public safety that deemphasizes policing mean in practical terms?

● Where does police abolition fit into the broader abolitionist conversation? What would a society without police look like?

● How do other aspects of American society interact with and affect the role of the police? Race? Poverty? Gender identity? Government funding structures? Organized labor? Popular media?

We are interested in writing that engages with any of these questions, or any other topic touching on efforts to change American policing.

To Submit an Article

Send an email to with the following documents:

1. A manuscript of your article, including an abstract and table of contents

2. A link to or copy of your CV, resume, or description of your relevant experience


Submitted articles will preferably be under 25,000 words in length (approximately 80 double-spaced pages or 50 law review pages) with citations for all statements of fact. CRCL prefers articles with a clear thesis or argument that can materially advance discussions surrounding the topic, both within academia and among practitioners. Law journal formatting is encouraged, but not required for submitted manuscripts. Additional information, including an archive of past issues, is available at


Articles should be submitted by Dec. 15, 2020. Authors will be notified by Feb. 15, 2021. regarding publication decisions. Please follow up with the submissions committee if your piece is under review elsewhere and you require expedited review

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