See below for a forthcoming book project by UNCF/Mellon faculty development grantees!
Black Girls Right The Future-A Scholarly Collection of and about Speculative Fiction by Black Women and Girls (Working Title)
- A Book Project
Karima Jeffrey and Valerie Ann Johnson, editors
Call for Submissions
In the majority of science fiction texts and other multimedia formats (i.e. film, television, “SciFi” Conventions, comic book paraphernalia, and graphic novels), the future is usually not inhabited by people of color. Rather an ‘economic’ elite dominates--one that is usually male and reflective of European-descent. Interstellar travel or the creation of dystopian/utopian worlds rarely feature people of color, especially Black women and girls. Moreover, the culturally-specific vantage point of people of color is absence; for example, representations of the world may be largely informed by Western religions/spiritual practices, linguistic codes, and cultural signifiers (such as clothing/costuming, cuisine, music, armament, etc.). Thus, when people of color do appear in the future, as human or humanoid, they may be negatively depicted and quickly destroyed or representative of “color-blind casting, meaning audiences see “black” faces on characters whose perspectives or customs are not defined by--or problematically defined by--an African-Diasporic perspective.
We are interested in scholarly analyses of the work of Black women and girls as they dynamically explore and write about the future. We seek commentary on a diverse range of genres (literature, visual art and media) that aspire to right the misrepresentation of or absent representation of Black women/girls. Anticipated texts for consideration might be works that analyze literature by Black women/girls or papers that discuss interpretations of films, television shows, music, media, and/or the visual arts, whether these texts are written, directed, and/or produced by people of color. The crux of your scholarly endeavor should demonstrate how Black women/girls are regarded in these configurations of the future. We are especially interested in concepts around “Futures Studies” that empower representations and/or the voices of Black women/girls, texts that conceive what it means to be “human” in evocative and empowering ways. Discussions of conceptions of the future and/or future encounters between humans or something else--more or less--is also a worthy undertaking, especially if such texts are constructed by Black women/girls who are aspiring to shape the future and/or science fiction texts in truly imaginative ways. Of special interest is how these creative visions are understood through academic commentary by Black women and girls who offer insights, regarding current challenges in health; sexual violence; economics; state violence; religion; politics; education; and access to resources including food, clean water and air.
With these ideas in mind we are soliciting submissions for an edited volume that brings together work centered on the science fiction/speculative imaginings of Black women and girls, especially as they consider our future(s). What do we, as Black women and girls, know of the future? What do we imagine? In speculative fiction, we contemplate future possibilities based on past and present realities; we wonder what kind of humans will we be, if at all, and how we will experience our world. By bringing together writings from Black women and girls, we want to offer readers the opportunity to experience--through scholarly essays and analyses--how Black women and girls view the near and distant future in literary and visual works and through popular culture. We recognize that Black women and girls are indeed producing interesting, incredibly vibrant stories, poetry, graphic novels, art, film, criticism, and academic writings, and we feel that a collected volume commenting on this body of work will serve many audiences. We are looking for material that captures an academic understanding of the ephemeral nature of the human experience from the particular perspective of women and girls of the African Diaspora.
This collection will highlight, from a scholarly perspective and from Black women and girls, the rich contribution Black women and girls bring to our contemplation of the future. With their view regarding what can be, we have an opportunity to experience fresh work from voices that are too often unheard.
Submission guidelines: Manuscripts should be between 5,000 and 7,000 words, double-spaced, in MLA style. Email complete manuscripts to: email@example.com
Please submit your full manuscripts by February 25th, 2018. (Revised Deadline)
Additional inquiries should also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karima Jeffrey - Hampton University
Valerie Ann Johnson - Bennett College