CfP: 16th Annual Africana Studies Symposium

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“UNC Charlotte at the Intersection of Black Studies in the Carolinas”

February 22-23, 2018

Thirteen years ago, the Department of Africana Studies was reconfigured as an integrated academic unit with a focus on the global, comparative, and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the historical and contemporary experiences of Africa-descended populations worldwide, with emphasis on the Americas, Africa, and Europe. Since then, the department’s curriculum and faculty hiring have been guided by these approaches which demand attentiveness to the articulation of local histories and geographies with global capitalism, nation state, and modernity. Within the same period, many academic units across the university have demonstrated their commitment to the subject of Black Studies by hiring discipline-specific faculty with expertise in African, African American, and African Diaspora Studies. These scholars have infused the university’s curriculum and scholarly agenda with contents and perspectives that are in tune with the global black epistemologies and emergent social conditions. Over the past ten years, there have been several initiatives – organizational and co-curricular collaboration – that sought to harness the energy of this growth and the hydra-headedness of Black Studies across the university.

The 2018 Africana Studies Symposium will convene on February 22-23, 2018 to build on these initiatives. The goal of the 16th annual Africana Studies symposium is to showcase the broad range of scholarship that faculty and their collaborators are pursuing in the field of Africana Studies at UNC Charlotte; highlight ongoing research collaborations, areas of strength, and potential synergy among faculty; review the pedagogical and curricular innovations that are (re)defining the Black Studies academic landscape; identify areas of critical needs and gaps; and explore potential opportunities for collaboration across the disciplines. The symposium is an opportunity to have conversation about faculty’s scholarly and creative works, new projects, potential collaborations, and new initiatives.

Faculty members and professional staff, as well as their student-collaborators are invited to submit panel and paper abstracts for the symposium. We encourage faculty and others to collaboratively propose panels that may include students as well as colleagues from other academic institutions and community organizations in the Carolinas. Topics that cover the wide gamut and multiple geographies of Black/Africana Studies–Africa, African American, Afro-Latin America, and the Caribbean–are welcome. Themes that build bridges across these geographies and emphasize the intersectionality of place, time, people, and experience are also encouraged. Irrespective of the diversity that is the defining character of Black Studies, we recognize that the experience of black subjects has been profoundly shaped and continues to be shaped by global capitalism and its hegemonic practices. Hence, the topics of democratic institutions, social justice, aesthetics, different regimes of labor practices, human trafficking, migration, entrepreneurship, education, self-determination and self-improvement, modernity, race, racism, gender, health, the environment, social welfare, family and community, citizenship, security, state and fundamentalist terrorism, religion, black thought and epistemology, and the Black Live matters in general, have immediate resonance and relevance for this symposium.

All methods of knowing are welcome–poetry, history, philosophy, policy, communication studies, psychology, dance, language, literary analysis, archaeology, sociology, and many more. We hope the diverse approaches that faculty and their collaborators will bring to these topics, including performative, humanistic, and social sciences, would offer the opportunity to reassess and strengthen the scope and directions of Black Studies at UNC Charlotte, North Carolina’s urban research university and a major intellectual hub of the Carolinas.

A panel may be an assemblage of individual faculty works or may focus on particular ideas or the body of works of a faculty. They may also be in the form of workshop around a topic, a manuscript, or a set of manuscripts. Faculty are also encouraged to propose roundtables on topics of their interest. Poster presentations are also welcome. We anticipate that this rare forum would also serve the purpose of creating new research and working groups in Africana Studies across multiple units in the university.

Proposals for sessions and individual papers or posters are due on January 15, 2018. The proposal for a session or a paper should not be more than 200 words. In the case of a roundtable, forum, or working group, only one proposal is needed with names/affiliation of participants. Those who wish to be part of the poster sessions should also submit a 200-word abstract. The department may assist with the printing of the posters. Registration for the conference is free. There is limited fund to support lodging/accommodation for the participating faculty from North and South Carolinas.

Please submit abstracts and inquiries to