CFP: African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Conference 2020

Posted on Oct 9, 2019

10th Annual African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Interdisciplinary Conference, James Madison University, Feb 20-21, 2020 **Proposal deadline extended to Nov. 1, 2019** The African, African American, and Diaspora Studies program at James Madison University invites proposals for its annual interdisciplinary conference, to be held on the campus of JMU in Harrisonburg, Virginia on February 20-21, 2020. This year's theme is “Black Temporalities: Past, Present, and Future.” Ranging across topics from oral history to Afrofuturism, the conference will bring together a group of scholars from a wide variety of overlapping and intersecting fields. The conference will feature a keynote presentation by novelist Nalo Hokinson (Midnight Robber; Brown Girl in the Ring), and a featured talk by the JMU Dean of Libraries, Dr. Bethany Nowviskie, who writes on liberatory and speculative digital library design. We welcome proposals from scholars in all relevant disciplines at any point in their scholarly careers. Proposals for 20-minute presentations or 60-minute panels could address topics such as: Afrofuturism Archaeology Black Digital Humanities Commemorative Practices Continuity Environmental Justice History Humanisms Memory Modernism Modernity Myth Oral Histories Postcolonial and Decolonial Knowledges Posthumanisms Queer Futurities Reclamation Reparations Rupture Science and Technology Slow Violence Speculative Fiction Trauma Witnessing  Please send any questions and/or 300-word presentation proposals (or 1000-word panel proposals) to by November 1, 2019. Proposals should include a presentation and/or panel title, along with each presenter’s name, institutional affiliation, email address, and a brief bio. Panel proposals must include at least three panelists.   Decisions will be made by Nov. 15, 2019. Updates regarding conference registration and accommodation details will be posted to and will be provided to presenters as the conference date draws...

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Call for Submissions: “Scribes, Griots, Poets: New Writing From West Africa” – Bellingham Review

Posted on Aug 21, 2019

Dear African Literature Association Members, It is our great pleasure to invite you to contribute to a special section of the spring 2020 issue of the Bellingham Review. The section will be dedicated to new writing coming out of West Africa, under the title "Scribes, Griots, Poets: New Writing From West Africa". We would like you to tell us a story you simply ought to tell – we seek voices that need to be heard, words that must be written. We hope to publish powerful voices speaking to what is happening in West Africa now, but with one eye on tomorrow. This special section that showcases literature from this region follows previous international issues that were dedicated to writing from Palestine-Israel, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Canada and received great attention and exposure internationally. Poems, short stories, essays, as well as excerpts from oral and written traditions are welcome. We are seeking original submissions in English; if in translation, the writer must obtain the translator’s permission. We may be able to help locate a translator for French language submissions. We will also consider previously published work that was not published in the U.S. as long as the writer holds copyright. The work should not exceed 5,000 words, and we aim to pay an honorarium for each accepted work. Let us introduce you to the Bellingham Review. We are published out of Bellingham, Washington, at the 49th parallel of the United States, located on the Puget Sound. The Review has existed for more than thirty years, and it is a nationally and internationally known literary journal. In 2002, the Bellingham Review received the 2002 Bellingham Mayor Arts Award, as well as recognition by for innovative content and design. The journal received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 2005, and we’ve introduced many emerging writers to the mainstream literary community and major publishing houses. Please visit our website at to see more of what we've been doing. Poems, stories and essays from the Bellingham Review have been picked up and reprinted in many venues, including Harper’s magazine, the Utne Reader, and in The Pushcart Prize Anthology (Best of the Small Presses). Also, to the best of our knowledge, the Bellingham Review is the only literary publication to have been part of a major league baseball broadcast. The Review is an exciting place to be, in other words, and we hope to feature your work in its pages. The deadline for submission is January 5, 2020 although earlier submissions would be much appreciated. If you plan to submit, please let us know as soon as possible, along with what you will send and, if pertinent, translator information. Upon...

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Contemporary Black British Women’s Writing

Posted on Jul 16, 2019

Special Issue of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature Edited by Elisabeth Bekers, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, and Helen Cousins This special issue aims to appraise the burgeoning field of Black British Women’s Writing in a collection of essays that considers the literary innovations of British women of African and African-Caribbean descent since the 1990s. The issue will highlight the centrality of aesthetic creativity in writing by black British women in order to acknowledge their investments in innovation and their challenges to literary tradition. We invite essays that recognize and celebrate the aesthetic qualities of this writing alongside or instead of the more usual socio-critical investigations, which understand the politics of these texts as a type of sociological information. However, the focus on innovation and experimentation should not neglect the political intent of writing that challenges social, political, and cultural issues. On the contrary, the special issue will be framed by an understanding that literary aesthetics, race, and gender intersect to produce/question particular social and material in/exclusions in specific historical and socio-cultural contexts. We welcome essays on the full range of genres (including novels, plays, poems, performance, life writing, essays) that are adopted, and adapted, by contemporary black British women writers. We also seek to draw attention to a wide range of writers, beyond individuals who have gained prominence in recent years; therefore, we encourage contributions discussing authors with developing reputations. Topics might include but are not limited to: Innovation in literary form, for example, through hybrid cross-genre writing, linguistic play, anti-realism, narrative and structural modes that create fragmentation. The ways in which the formal experiments of black British women’s writing ask challenging questions of society. The intersection of race and gender with ideas of literary aesthetics in black British women’s writing. How alternative reading practices can open up explorations of black British women’s aesthetic innovations. The effects a critical focus on aesthetics and innovation has on canon formation for black British women’s writing and beyond. The traditions and norms that limit black British women writers’ artistic expression to “authenticity” and cultural representation. Initial queries and abstracts are encouraged though final acceptance will be determined by the completed essay. Essays should be 6,000-9,000 words (excluding notes), should conform to the endnote style of the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, and should be submitted in Microsoft Word. Please submit essays through email by 1 October 2019 to and Click here for more information:...

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The Postcolonial Novel, Post-9/11 (Winter 2020)

Posted on May 28, 2019

Studies in the Novel is currently seeking submissions for a special issue on “The Postcolonial Novel, Post-9/11,” which will be guest edited by Gaurav Desai (University of Michigan) and published in Winter 2020. As we approach the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, this special issue invites contributors to address how the postcolonial novel, broadly construed, has been shaped by and in turn responded to the events of 9/11. Even as we extend this call, we want our interlocutors to have a critical stance towards our framing of the topic – is 9/11 an appropriate historical marker of global relevance or does it exhibit a US-centric worldview? Is the designation “postcolonial” still the most effective marker for cultural production post-9/11 when the “colonialism” that it often refers to is overwhelmingly marked by a previous era? Beyond these matters of framing, the issue is interested in papers that consider how postcolonial novels have engaged with topics such as the alleged clash of civilizations, the notion of just and unjust wars, the politics of retribution, the discourse of ‘national security,’ the erosion of civil liberties, the surveillance of the ‘foreigner,’ figurations of the ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism,’ Islamophobia, New Orientalism/Post-Orientalism, the migrant postcolonial novel post-9/11, transnational feminism in a post-9/11 world, US imperialism post-9/11, international responses to 9/11, and inter-ethnic solidarities/tensions in the aftermath of 9/11, among others. We are equally interested in publishing articles that engage with the ways in which 9/11 has shaped both the themes and the forms of the postcolonial novel. Submissions should be sent in MS Word, devoid of personal identifying information. Manuscripts should be 6,000-9,000 words in length, inclusive of endnotes and Works Cited, have standard formatting (1” margins, double-spaced throughout, etc.), and conform to the 7th edition of the MLA Style Manual. Endnotes should be as brief and as limited in number as possible. Illustrations may accompany articles; high-resolution digital files (JPEGs preferred) must be provided upon article acceptance. All copyright permissions must be obtained by the author prior to publication. Questions and submissions should be sent to The deadline for submissions is December 1,...

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CFP – MLA 2020 Panel: Pleasure, Arts and the Human in Africa

Posted on Feb 11, 2019

MLA 2020 Seattle: Pleasure, Arts and the Human in Africa Summary Call The panel explores the multi-dimensional ways in which literary and cultural forms – new or old – might help us navigate the nexus of pleasure and the human. Send 250 word abstracts and a one-page CV before March 15 to Naminata Diabate, with ‘MLA PANEL” in subject line. Expanded Call The Africa since 1990 Forum of the MLA welcomes abstracts for a guaranteed panel titled “Pleasure, Arts and the Human in Africa.” The panel is part of the 2020 MLA Annual Convention in January 2020 in Seattle. We are interested in papers that address the multi-dimensional ways in which African literary and other cultural forms—new or old—might help us navigate how artistic practices and theoretical methodologies provide meaningful, illuminating ways of reading pleasure as it intersects with current contributions and/or threats to human thriving. The impetus of the panel comes from three interrelated points. 1-The presidential theme for the 2020 MLA convention that Simon Gikandi has chosen” the human.” 2- Despite prominent and precolonial accounts of the human in African social and moral thought and practice pace Gyekye 2010 and Wiredu 1987, still the colonial enterprise ignored and proceeded to frame the native as savage, primitive, and less than human. In the light of these contesting formulations of African humanity, it is useful to wonder which versions of the African human prevails today in an era of impending threats to human prosperity. The panel seeks to focus on how pleasure participates in current accounts of the human, which we may apprehend through our creative imagination. In its most general definition, pleasure includes the fleeting affective positivity of all joy, gladness, liking, and enjoyment, all our feeling good or happy. This and other accounts posit pleasure as the only actual ultimate ends and the only justified ultimate ends of all our voluntary pursuit and avoidance. In neurobiology, pleasure has be identified as the principle of human evolution and survival (Victor Johnson 2003). Given the centrality of pleasure inhuman (and relevantly similar animal) life, a pressing question emerges, How do we conceptualize pleasure as formulated in African philosophies and artistic products. In enriching the ongoing academic conversations on pleasure and cognate terms, this panel seeks to examine the extent to which pleasure, arts, and the human reconfigure conventional sites, methods, and theories of literary and cultural criticism. Prospective panelists should submit a 250-word abstract to Naminata Diabate ( by March 15, 2019 with “MLA Panel” in subject line. We welcome papers engaging the following questions among others: How might we either theorize or critique the search and the enjoyment of pleasure by creative avenues from and about Africa? To...

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CFP: 4th Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies Conference – DEADLINE EXTENDED

Posted on Dec 5, 2018

16 – 18 August 2019, Woldia University, Ethiopia Theme: East Africa’s Elsewheres Historically, Africa has a rich tradition of inter-regional trade and cultural exchange. East Africa is no exception. However, while the Southern and Western Africa have considerable scholarly attention, little research in the humanities has been carried out in the East African context. In particular very little attention has been paid to literary and cultural studies. This conference proposes to address those discursive and geopolitical failings by seeking to engage with East Africa’s nodes of connectivity, entanglement, engagement, contestation and transactions through papers, roundtables and panel discussion. Eastern Africa has interacted with other African regions for many years. It has seen intellectual, cultural, trade and political exchanges, despite and perhaps because of differing ideological agendas. East Africa’s role in this process is widely known, but only in part. We can see the role of East Africa in the forging of the Pan-African project, and can see connections with Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle and Far East and elsewhere in Africa in the faces of local people. These global connections seem to be under-researched. While the attention of the rest of the world has been focussed on the unstable Great Lakes region, the mobility of scholars and cultural artists across the region in the 1960s and 1970s has left a lasting impact on the history and culture of the region. Even earlier, voyages of exploration to and from the Far East generated hybrid cultures of people and creative art, symbolised by images of shipwreck and slavery. This cultural intermixing generated a pot-pourri of associations between cultures and civilisations that were derived from, but differed in major ways from those of the people. That can be seen to day in the popular view of Zanzibar as a haven of leisure and fine living, a vision completely at odds with it’s history of slavery and oppression. The commonality of ideas and cultures that transcends current political borders raises questions in many cases about the logicality of those borders. Another area of great interest is the effect of the Cold War on the politics of East Africa and the choices made by nation states at that time and after the end of the Cold War. The Cold War had a profound effect on cultural exchange and the activities and postures of artists and thinkers in East Africa. Some consider that process an unfinished aspect of colonialism and its legacy to the region. The conference seeks to invite contributions, at this stage papers, to a sustained meditation on how East Africa’s diaspora and local heritages have created and modified East African literary and artistic development thus far, and how we can envision...

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