Peer-Reviewed Issue

Call for Papers: Dharmic Activism in the Dark Age
The Arrow: A Journal Of Wakeful Society, Culture & Politics
2018 Peer-Reviewed Issue

In curating The Arrow’s 2017 peer-reviewed issue (forthcoming), we sought to investigate how contemplative practice can help address systemic injustice in society, and how the analytical tools of academic disciplines can foster critical awareness of injustice within contemplative communities. We received submissions articulating the political value of meditation for activism and democratic citizenship, investigating contemplative pedagogy as a tool for social activism, and discussing methods of undoing the social and economic injustices that afflict many Western contemplative communities.

In light of the persistence of harmful systems and the intensification of their expression in politics—from explicitly racist, sexist, and xenophobic policies to unbridled expansion of the fossil fuel economy; from authoritarianism to plutocracy—we want to deepen our exploration of last year’s themes by emphasizing practical action in these intensified political times. How can theories of contemplative practice, activism, and citizenship be put into practical action to resist oppression, invite sanity, and nurture wisdom and compassion? How can contemplative communities become energetic centers of social change? How can they proclaim direct yet nuanced pathways for collective well-being, protect people and the environment from harm, and liberate themselves from the same oppressive systems from which they seek to liberate others? What is the role of Dharma and practice in collective action?

At the same time, we must recognize a grain of truth buried within the aggression of reactionary authoritarianism: This truth lies in people’s frustration with globalization and with the lack of opportunity for meaningful livelihood characteristic of consumer capitalism; it lies in the environmental harm that results from the transnational shipping of global trade. How might contemplative teachings help us understand ideology and the social ego, adding nuance and insight to knowing what to accept and what to reject in terms of dominant political and economic discourses? And how can contemplative practices help us integrate this discriminating awareness into practical engagement with people who hold extreme views (e.g., validating frustration with economic inequality while confronting xenophobia)?

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words by March 1, 2017 for review. The submission deadline for article manuscripts is July 1, 2017. Please direct submissions and inquiries to Gabe Dayley at gabe@arrow-journal.org.


The Arrow explores the relationship between contemplative practice, politics, and activism. We investigate topics in politics, economics, ecology, conflict transformation, and the social sciences. Inspired by the vision of meditation master Chögyam Trungpa for a “union of social life and spiritual wakefulness” in society, The Arrow provides a critical and much needed space for investigating the meeting point of contemplative wisdom and pressing issues of democracy, capitalism, climate change, racism, and conflict.