Projections Volume 17: Planning Just Indigenous Futures, Challenging 21st-Century Empire

Kevin Lee's picture
Call for Papers
May 1, 2022 to May 31, 2022
Massachusetts, United States
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Native American History / Studies, Urban Design and Planning, Geography

Envisioned as an opportunity to bridge scholarship in the interdisciplinary fields of Urban Planning and Indigenous Studies, this volume asks: what can scholars in both disciplines learn from each other, and what kinds of tools––theoretical, conceptual, emotional, methodological or otherwise––might be helpful to support the realization of just Indigenous futures and futurities? How do Indigenous approaches to planning pose challenges to urban planning orthodoxy, and how might the urban planning orthodoxy be reconfigured in order to better serve the needs and ongoing struggles of Indigenous communities today?  

Urban planning has long distinguished itself from other applied fields (such as public policy and social work) through claiming a privileged relationship to the future. However, the planner’s toolbox towards this effort (e.g. visioning, scenario planning, computational modeling) are limited, and urban planning itself has had a fraught––often negative and violent––relationship with Indigenous communities. Meanwhile, Indigenous scholars and practitioners have done much to resist the logics of 21st-century empire, and to articulate, advance and realize just Indigenous futures and Indigenous futurities. This volume seeks to encourage urban planners to learn from the work of Indigenous sovereignty movements in order to support the realization of just Indigenous futures, and to expand their toolbox in approaching futures planning more generally. 

We invite abstract submissions from academics and practitioners at any level, and encourage contributions from across the social sciences (e.g. sociology, political science, anthropology) and allied applied fields (e.g. urban planning and design, architecture, social work, public policy). We are also open to heterodox methods of inquiry that draw on Indigenous, Black, feminist, queer, disability and critical race theories and methodologies.

Submissions should broadly engage questions of what it means to plan for just Indigenous futures under 21st-century empire (however defined), and may opt to center on any of the following topics: 


  1. Indigenous sovereignty movements

How are Indigenous sovereignty movements envisioning and enacting just Indigenous futures? What are the strategies, tactics, rhetorical frames and organizational infrastructures through which they execute their work? How do these movements navigate existing constraints in sharing information, accumulating resources and gaining political leverage, at what scale, and with what consequences? How are such movements tackling climate change, and what are the dynamics shaping their relationship (if any) to other actors involved in tackling environmental issues? 

2.     Role of professional planners

What are the dynamics shaping the relationship between professional planners and Indigenous sovereignty movements? What kinds of faculties (e.g. deep listening), principles (e.g. the Chamoru principle of inafa’maolek, the Hawaiian principles of pono or kuleana) and values (e.g. compassion) should professional planners align themselves with in order to be more closely aligned with Indigenous sovereignty movements? How can current organizational infrastructures be leveraged, reconfigured and/or bolstered in order to increase meaningful engagement of professional planners in Indigenous sovereignty movements, especially in the domain of environmental planning?

3.     Planning for just futures 

What can planners learn from Indigenous sovereignty movements in terms of how they should approach the envisioning and enactment of Indigenous just futures, and just futures more generally? How might the relationship between settlers, Indigenous peoples, the settler-colonial state and the environment be reconfigured in such futures? 


Projections is published yearly as a unique collaboration between graduate students and scholars, aiming to provide in-depth treatment of cutting-edge ideas in planning. The journal’s website is:

Kindly submit your paper abstracts via this form. Abstracts will be juried by the co-editors, and abstract acceptances will be released sometime in June. Authors with accepted abstracts will subsequently be invited to submit full-length papers (between 5,000 and 7,000 words, excluding references) and will be provided additional information on the double-blind peer review process and timeline. This issue of Projections has an anticipated publishing date of Fall 2022. 

Once accepted abstracts have been received, the co-editors will then incorporate them into a public call for Indigenous artwork. Indigenous artists will be invited to submit artwork to be paired (with optional commentary) with each full-length article in the final publication. The purpose here is to intentionally curate a dialogue between scholars and artists, especially since art is a powerful tool in helping us all to imagine more just Indigenous futures. 


Projections 17 Team

Student Editors: Daniel Engelberg ( and Kevin Lujan Lee (, Chamoru, familian Capili)

Managing Editor: 

  • Delia Wendel, Spaulding Career Development Assistant Professor in Urban Studies and International Development

Faculty Advisors: 

  • Delia Wendel, Spaulding Career Development Assistant Professor in Urban Studies and International Development

  • Gabriella Carolini, Associate Professor of International Development and Urban Planning and Director, City Infrastructure Equity Lab

  • With support from Catherine D’Ignazio, Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning

Editorial Board:

  • Lucie Laurian (Professor and Director, University of Iowa, School of Planning and Public Affairs)

  • Marisa Zapata (Associate professor, Toulon School of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University)

  • Andy Inch (Senior Lecturer, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, The University of Sheffield)

  • Janelle Knox-Hayes (Associate Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Konia Freitas (Kanaka, Associate Specialist, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)

  • Laura Harjo (Mvskoke, Associate Professor, Department of Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma)

  • Michelle Thompson-Fawcett (Māori/Ngāti Whātua, Professor, School of Geography, University of Otago)

  • Keith Camacho (CHamoru, Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Asian-American Studies, University of California - Los Angeles)

Contact Info: 

Kevin Lujan Lee (Chamoru, familian Capili) and Daniel L. Engelberg are PhD candidates at MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. 

Contact Email: