Reconceptualising the inter/national subject: unsettling equality and interculturality in HE



The proposed special issue will create a space for dialogue to critically examine unproblematised notions of internationalisation, mobility, global citizenship, and equity in higher education. Although seemingly neutral and innocuous, these notions operate to position international staff and students within politicized binaries of indigeneity/alienation, nativism/foreign, natural/unnatural, local/global, instantiating them as inherently pathological subjects and subjects in the making. Far from being fixed, these binaries are always shifting, negotiated and contested in the daily experiences of transnational and intercultural lives and their associated projects of belonging and othering within and beyond the diverse spaces of higher education (HE) institutions. 

The proposed special issue adds a new and important contribution to the critique of dominant discourses within HE that are firmly entangled with the promotion and advancement of internationalisation and the shared neo-liberal fantasies of equality and diversity. These discourses often obfuscate colonial legacies of ‘Western’/’Westernised’ education and episteme, and the new racisms that uneven migration and academic mobility patterns present across various national and socio-political contexts. Alongside, the dominant discourses operate to responsibilize international subjects for their trajectories in HE, thereby trivializing and shrinking ideas of equality and equity.

Uncritical understandings of the ‘inter/national’ subject in HE tend to mute the multiplicity, plurality and hybridity of identities that are marked as international as well as the materiality and emotionality of identity production within the unequal spaces of higher education sustained by wider inequalities and colonial relations of domination. Narratives of cultural translation, adaptation, and language use further compound and complicate the emotional labour of intercultural learning. Our special issue will aim to attract contributions that will advance our thinking about difference, diversity and othering in higher education through critical, embodied, intersectional and relational approaches to the study of Inter/national/cultural identities. 

List of topic areas

Potential areas of research and inquiry might include (but are not limited to) the following themes:

  • EDI, neo-liberalism and international identities in HE
  • Internationalization and Intercultural Learning in the Global South and Global North
  • Internationalization and multiple marginalities/exclusions in HE
  • Transcultural belongings and gendered/racialized othering in HE
  • Neo-colonization of HE and international subjects in Western Europe, Oceania and South-Asia
  • Intercultural competences and EDI in neo-liberal academia
  • Language inequalities and intercultural lives in HE
  • Global citizenship agendas in HE: discourses, practices, critiques and possibilities
  • Navigation and negotiation of identities and subjectivities in HE
  • Alternative and critical understandings of international education discourses
  • Resistances to dominant notions of internationalisation

Guest Editor

Maria Tsouroufli, Brunel University London, UK, [email protected]  

Giuliana Ferri, University College London, UK, [email protected]

Gunjan Wadhwa,  University of Sussex, UK, [email protected]


Submissions Information

Manuscripts must be submitted in MS Word (.doc or .docx) format with a separate title page that includes the title of the paper, full names, affiliations, email addresses, telephone numbers, complete addresses, and biographical sketches of all authors.

All submissions must follow the APA (6th ed.) style and be between 6,000 and 8,000 words, including a 250-word abstract with 5-6 keywords, references, and notes.

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at:

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see:

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key deadlines

Opening date: 1st August 2023
Closing date: 1st February 2024   
Email for submissions: [email protected]