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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Journal of Family Communication

For a Special Issue on
Communication in Black Families

Manuscript deadline
16 January 2023

Cover image - Journal of Family Communication

Special Issue Editor(s)

Leslie Nelson, California Polytechnic State University
[email protected]

Darvelle Hutchins, [email protected]

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Communication in Black Families

Publication Date: October  2023 (Volume 23, Issue 4)

The purpose of this special issue of the Journal of Family Communication (Volume 23, Issue 4 in 2023), co-edited by Leslie Nelson and Darvelle Hutchins, is to center communication in Black families. Black families currently receive little attention in family communication scholarship, despite their unique historical, cultural, and social influences and lived experiences in the United States. We call for scholars to join us in addressing this gap by submitting manuscripts focusing on communication in Black families. Specifically, we invite scholars to engage theories stemming from diverse fields (e.g., communication, psychology, women’s and gender studies, ethnic studies, history, political science) and sub-disciplines (e.g., family communication, organizational communication, political communication, mass media communication, performance studies, intercultural communication) to paint a holistic picture of communication in Black families through this special issue.

We echo our previous call (see Hutchins & Nelson, 2021) to encourage further reflection and action. Why? Why, despite claims of understanding systemic racism and injustice against Black folx and families in America, have we overlooked the experiences of Black families in our scholarship? Why, despite our 30-year existence as a discipline within the larger Communication field, have we not done more to center the experiences of Black folx and families? Why, despite numerous calls to research on communication and family diversity (Gudykunst & Lee, 2001; McAdoo, 2001; Soliz & Phillips, 2018; Turner & West, 2003, 2018), do so few articles on communication in Black families exist? If, as a discipline and as individuals, we contend that #BlackLivesMatter, shouldn’t we consider that Black families matter too? How can we, as researchers, demonstrate our commitment to Black folx and families in our scholarship? Will you join us?

Some relevant topics of interest for this special issue include, but are not limited to:

What it means to be a Black family from the perspectives of Black children and Black adults

How Black families organize around health and, more specifically, how Black families navigate mental and physical health concerns and disparities

How colorism (i.e., the prejudicial or preferential treatment Black people receive based on their skin tone; Walker, 1983) shapes the lived experiences of Black folks at personal, social, emotional, and societal levels

How Black individuals and families are socialized to participate in politics

How Black parents and children communicate about and manage LGBTQ+ and other stigmatized identities within the Black family

How Black families engage in storytelling to (de)construct identity and cope with difficulty

Perspectives on how Black young adults make meaning of adulthood, considering family messaging about various topics (i.e., sex, class, racism, discrimination, etc.)

A modern conception of the role of Black religion to the Black family today

An examination of how societal Discourses impact communication within Black families

An exploration of how death and dying manifest differently for Black families with consideration of power and social class

A deeper dive into the organizing of sub-families within the Black community, such as Ball “houses” or drag families, generally composed of gay males and transgender folks

We seek two types of papers: data-based and critical reflections.

Data-based manuscripts should be theoretically grounded and methodologically robust. Broadly, these manuscripts should focus on communication within Black families. We welcome a wide array of theoretical approaches, including but not limited to Intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989), Narrative Theorizing (see Koenig Kellas & Horstman, 2015), Language Convergence Meaning Divergence (Dougherty et al., 2010), Critical Race Theory (Bell, 2018), Family Communication Patterns Theory (Koerner & Fitzpatrick, 2002), Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986), and Discourse Dependence (Galvin, 2006). We also welcome various topics central to communication in and about Black families, including but not limited to identity and culture, rituals and routines, storytelling, socialization, colorism, stigma management, family organizing, family distancing, new/social media, and health outcomes.

In line with the editorial policy of the Journal of Family Communication, we solicit data-based research that utilizes qualitative, quantitative, or critical methods from a broad range of fields (e.g., communication studies, ethnic studies, women’s and gender studies, family studies, health prevention and promotion, and social psychology) in both face-to-face and mediated contexts in which Black family communication is the central focus of the study. All manuscripts should include a translational research section, which should be placed toward the end of the Discussion section. This translational section should provide several practical or social contributions or implications for audiences outside academia (e.g., PreK-12 instruction, counselors, and social service agencies) to apply the study results to “real” families or “real” family situations. Manuscripts should be prepared according to the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and should be no longer than 8,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures. Author names and affiliations should not appear on the title page or elsewhere in the manuscript.

Critical reflections manuscripts should center on a pedagogical, theoretical, methodological, practical, or ethical problem or issue relevant to Black families. Critical reflections should be as data-driven as possible, describe the problem or issue, and provide resolution to the problem or issue. Manuscripts should be prepared according to the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and should be no longer than 3,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures. Author names and affiliations should not appear on the title page or elsewhere in the manuscript.

Deadline for submissions is January 16, 2023. Inquiries regarding this call should be sent to Leslie Nelson ([email protected]) or Darvelle Hutchins ([email protected]).

Submission Instructions

Authors should submit manuscripts to the journal’s electronic submission website, which is https://rp.tandfonline.com/submission/login.  Each manuscript submission must include (a) a title page letter file that contains all authors’ contact information (including phone and e-mail addresses) and indicates clearly that the manuscript is submitted for consideration in the Communication in Black Families special issue; (b) a manuscript file that is submitted in Word and contains the entire text of the article, including the title page with authorship omitted, the abstract, five keywords, all text, references, footnotes, and appendixes; and (c) any figure or table files, with each figure or table submitted in its own file. It is expected that the manuscript is not under review in any other journal.

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