The Editors of African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal announce a Call for Papers for a special issue on Reframing the African Diaspora in the Americas.
Over a half century after Melville Herskovits published his Myth of the Negro Past (1941), James Clifford in his 1994 article “Diasporas” posed the probing question, “What is at stake, politically and intellectually, in contemporary invocations of diaspora?” It is a pivotal question today as scholars explore the link among and between African transnational communities.
The concept of diaspora has been associated with historical events of forced migration or dispersal whose profound effects have become to be inscribed in narratives of dislocation. As a specific historical and contested process embedded in a set of cultural and social relations across time and space, the concept of diaspora as James Clifford (1994) and sociologist Avtar Brah (1996) remind us, is not limited to a historical experience. Rather, it functions both as a theoretical concept and a complex analytic discourse that “invites a kind of theorizing that is always embedded in particular maps and histories.” Indeed, Brah contends that we conceive of diasporas as “an ensemble of investigative technologies that historicise trajectories of different diasporas, and analyse their relationality across fields of social relations, subjectivity and identity.”
The study of the African diaspora in the Americas has been reinvigorated in recent decades by a robust debate as scholars shift their inquiry from the explicit study of cultural “survival” or “creolization”, towards an emphasis on placing Africans and their descendants at the center of their own histories. Going beyond the notion of cultural “survival” or “creolization”, scholars now explore different sites of power, resistance and the various social and cultural networks and institutions that Africans and their descendants have created and developed in an array of cultural richness and diversity.
The African diaspora in the Americas first took root in the American colonies of Portugal and Spain. The Atlantic plantation complex, transplanted from the islands of the African Atlantic, required the massive importation of labor, forming large African descended communities in the former American colonies of Portugal and Spain. The long history makes the Portuguese and Spanish speaking communities of the Americas important sites for considering how debates around the African diaspora are being reframed. Therefore, the special issue is seeking contributions that demonstrate how the renewed debates are reshaping the theorization and investigation of Afro-Latin communities in the Americas. Using diaspora as an organizing framework, we invite contributions to explore the African diaspora by drawing on specific historical and comparative studies to illuminate the linkages, networks, disjunctions, sense of collective consciousness, memory and cultural imagination among the peoples of African descent in the Spanish and Portuguese speaking communities of the Americas.
Prospective contributors are invited to send proposals for articles in the form of a 200-word abstract by June 30, 2008. Authors of accepted proposals will be asked to submit articles in final form (in English) by December 30, 2008.
All communications regarding the special edition should be directed to the Guest Editor, Professor Robert Adams (International Studies, DePaul University), by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Informal enquiries are most welcome, and the Guest Editor will be happy to discuss individual questions.
African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal is devoted to a critical interrogation of the trans/national movements, locations and intersections of subjectivity within the African diaspora in the context of globalization as well as in different discourses, practices and political contexts. The journal maps and navigates the theoretical and political shifts imposed by the nation-state to provide a counter-narrative of subject positions of people of the African diaspora, grounded in cultural and political responses.
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