Call for Papers

Call for Papers: Special Issue on "Temporal Dimensions of Humanitarian Protection" in Time and Society

We are excited to announce that we are collating papers for a special issue proposal spearheaded by the RightsforTime research network, a collective of researchers and practitioners aimed at redefining the discourse and practice around humanitarian protection by scrutinizing how time influences crisis and crisis response. We are thrilled to invite submissions from researchers across the fields of arts, humanities, and social sciences to discuss links between time, violence, and protection.

The target journal for the special issue is ‘Time and Society’, an interdisciplinary platform dedicated to exploring the complex interplay between time, temporality and social life. The special issue intends to question dominant understandings of time in humanitarian protection and related research, foregrounding the temporal dimensions that often go unnoticed in a crisis.

We aim to feature case studies from around the globe, offering alternative perspectives to conventional time-related conceptions within humanitarian protection. Our mission is to present a variety of methodologies and geographical contexts, ranging from creative inquiries into time and trauma, to data-driven research on violence and displacement, and onto conceptual discussions on policy and practice in humanitarian protection.

In this special issue, we welcome submissions that critique time-related aspects of public, social, scientific, economic, environmental, and organisational policies or practices around crises, and particularly encourage innovative, interdisciplinary modes of understanding time in the context of violence and harm.

Key topics to be explored include (but are not limited to):

  • Temporal Dynamics of Gender Inequality and Cultural Erasure
  • Chronology of Trauma and Displacement
  • Time and Mental Health in Vulnerable Populations
  • Religious Communities and Temporality
  • The Role of Time in Narratives of Displacement
  • The Effects of Protracted Crises over Time
  • Memory Studies in Diverse Communities
  • Indigenous Concepts and Practices in Humanitarian Protection
  • Alternative Temporalities in Policy-Making and Humanitarian Responses

Each of these topics invites papers that delve into the interplay of time with social, cultural, psychological, and political phenomena. Submissions may range from case studies and empirical research to theoretical discourses and critical analyses. 

We are looking to feature 6-8 articles (traditional research papers and less conventional items like interviews and roundtables) and an introduction for this issue. Pursuing this special issue will require foregrounding temporality and thinking creatively about its role in research and practice. We have attached a recent article from the Journal which gives a straightforward sense of how time may be conceived in relation to migration and humanitarian protection.

If you have a research article under progress, an idea for an article, or an interest in collaborating with another member of our network for this special issue, we would love to hear from you. We will work with all those interested in submitting, as required, on developing their articles. As part of that, we will run a paper-drafting workshop in September. 

Submission Guidelines: All submissions should be original, previously unpublished work. Please refer to the ‘Time and Society’ journal’s guidelines for authors before submitting your work.

We anticipate that our special issue will be open-access, with no associated publishing costs for authors. This expectation is subject to confirmation, which will occur after we have reviewed all abstract submissions.

Important Dates:

  • Workshop to discuss submissions and potential collaborations for papers: September 14 (9.30 to 12.30), 2023
  • Submission deadline for abstracts: September 30, 2023, should include the title, author names, abstract (250–300 words) and short author bio (100 words)
  • Submission deadline for articles: November 31, 2023, see for article requirements 

Please direct all submissions and queries to us. We look forward to your contributions and thank you for considering this call for papers.


Warm Regards,

Kiki and Abdullah

Abstract for the proposal:

Rights for Time: Rethinking the temporal dimensions of humanitarian protection

Social scientific research geared toward humanitarian protection often engages with the direct and visibly urgent effects of crises. While invaluable in its own right, this type of engagement can undermine the importance of comprehending the ways in which protracted crises may have significant indirect and invisible effects over time. Indeed, such crises produce social and political conflicts, as well as obstacles to lasting peace, which go unnoticed if the short-term tools of policy are the primary lens through which research is conducted. 

For this special issue of Time and Society, we present case studies from around the world which offer alternatives to dominant conceptions of time in humanitarian protection. The studies range in methodology and geographic context, from innovative psychological accounts of time and trauma in the work of the Palestine Trauma Center to empirical research into the time of waiting for sexual assault victims in Kenya. Other studies pose historical and literary inquiries into how indigenous concepts and practices, which emerged organically over time, may replace the dominant lexicons of humanitarian organizations.

What unites the articles in this issue is an urgent sense that foregrounding the temporal dimensions of humanitarian protection allows us to more carefully examine, challenge, and offer alternatives to the default understanding of time in social science and public policy. This may result in the development of synergies across geographic contexts, innovations in methodology, and thinking about compound harm – from colonial remnants and nationalism to environmental catastrophe – from a more expansive temporal vantage.