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Deadline for submissions: 11:59 PST February 1, 2019

Special Issue Call for Papers
“Inheriting Black Studies”

Souls invites essays, critical book/film/art reviews, and interviews by advanced graduate students and junior faculty that commemorate the 50th anniversary of Black Studies, focusing on the range of intellectual inheritances we have received from this meta-discipline and what those inheritances demand of the future(s) of critical black study.

This special issue of articles, interviews, and critical book/film/art reviews, collectively titled Inheriting Black Studies will be primarily written and assembled by junior scholars during the 50-year anniversary of the first Black Studies program in the country, established at San Francisco State University (1968). The contributors will engage in a conversation about our intellectual inheritances. We will consider the ways in which our trainings in Black Studies have shaped our specific research motivations and, more importantly, how they have helped us envision new future(s) of critical black study.

Black Studies, although cohered by its commitment to the study of African diasporic peoples, is as diverse in theoretical and methodological breath as are the subjects of its inquiry. There is no one, singular iteration of the field; in this light, each essayist will consider a unique inheritance from the field of Black Studies that has made possible a new line of inquiry — an emergent iteration of critical black engagement, play, and politics. We owe a great deal to the meta-discipline of Black Studies, for the intellectual and political convictions it has stoked within us as thinkers, organizers, artists, and teachers. In developing this special issue on the field’s past, present, and future(s), the editors lean on the late Manning Marable’s conceptualization of Black Studies as an intellectual and political project in his seminal essay, “Black Studies and the Racial Mountain.” Therein, Marable concluded that the work of Black Studies has and should be three-fold: “descriptive” of the lived (material and metaphysical) conditions of black people from their perspective; “corrective” of paradigms that have distorted the reality of black life in the academy and otherwise; and finally, “prescriptive,” in that Black Studies should be moving toward “practical steps of empowerment.” Extending from this framework, the editors invite scholars who align with this intellectual orientation towards Black Studies to contribute their original works. Essays might hone in on specific theories, intellectual figures, and methodological interventions in Black Studies that have been generative in analysis, for challenging hegemonic epistemologies, and that move towards reimagining black people and the terms of our relationship to the modern world.

Inheriting Black Studies invites contributions that are analytical, meditative, and explanatory of a range of topics (i.e., history, performance, political-economy, poetics, and theoretical vistas). Essays should be between 2500 and 6000 words, excluding endnotes and references. It is our hope that this collection will be useful for introductory courses in Black Studies, a companion for scholars that is representative of the canonical range of the field, and (more immediately) part of an ongoing conversation amongst junior scholars who understand ourselves to be the future of Black Studies.

In addition to the contributions by junior scholars, the issue will also include a foreword and afterword by Professor Christina Sharpe (author of In the Wake) and Professor Robert Allen (author of Black Awakening in Capitalist America), respectively, as well as an edited interview with Professor Sylvia Wynter.

Submission guidelines

Upload submissions at: https://www.editorialmanager.com/souls/default.aspx
Please address questions to: Marco Roc, Souls Managing Editor, mroc2@uic.edu

Souls only accepts manuscripts by electronic submission. Manuscripts are peer-reviewed by members of our Editorial Working Group (EWG) and our Editorial Advisory Board (EAB), as well as other affiliated scholars.

All submissions must indicate that the manuscript contains original content, has not previously been published, and is not under review by another publication. Authors are responsible for securing permission to use copyrighted images, tables, or materials from a copyrighted work in excess of 500 words. Authors must contact original authors or copyright holders to request the use of such materials in their articles.


DCP: In the pattern of the critical black intellectual tradition of W.E.B. DuBois, Souls articles should include the elements of "description," "correction," and/or "prescription": thickly, richly detailed descriptions of contemporary black life and culture; corrective and analytical engagements with theories and concepts that reproduce racial inequality in all of its forms; and/or an analysis that presents clear alternatives or possibilities for social change.

Originality: Articles should make an original contribution to the literature. We do not consider manuscripts that are under review elsewhere.


Length: Articles published in Souls generally are a minimum of 2,500 words in length, but not longer than 6,000 words, excluding endnotes and scholarly references.

CMS and Clarity: All articles should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style. Scholarly references and citations usually should not be embedded in the text of the article, but arranged as endnotes in CMS form. Souls favors clearly written articles free of excessive academic jargon and readily accessible to a broad audience.

Critical: Souls aspires to produce scholarship representing a critical black studies – analytical and theoretical works in the living tradition of scholar/activist W.E.B. Du Bois. Souls is an intellectual intervention that seeks to inform and transform Black life and history.

Editorial information

Special Issue Co-Editors:

Jarvis R. Givens, Harvard University
Joshua Bennett, Dartmouth College

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