CFP in Black Girlhood Studies


Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths: Exploring the Theory, Praxis, and Creativity of Black Girlhood Studies
Guest Editors: Chamara Jewel Kwakye, University of Kentucky; Dominique C. Hill, Miami University; Durell M. Callier, University of Illinois; and Hill L. Waters

Created by scholar, artist, and activist Ruth Nicole Brown in 2006, Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT) collectively brings together Black girls and women from all walks of life to answer the central question: What does a space that focuses on the freedom of Black girls look like? Since its inception SOLHOT has served as a key means to do the following:

  • Center the embodied knowledge of Black girls and women
  • Foster opportunities for Black girls and women to speak directly to systemic oppression(s)
  • Explore the creative potential of Black girlhood
  • Organize Black girls and women for the purpose of unapologetically making/taking freedom.

Approaching its tenth year, SOLHOT continues to provide a space for creative performance and expression, and explores the complexities and robust realities of Black girlhood. Equally, it generates new ways of thinking about relationships between Black girls/our bodies, education/experience, research/celebration, scholar and artist, and girls/women.

This special issue of Departures in Critical Qualitative Research will take up and extend the aforementioned questions and key themes raised by SOLHOT and Black Girlhood Studies. Expressly, contributions within this issue will explore the question: What do spaces which focus on the freedom of Black girls and girls of color look like?

Essays in this special issue will be characterized by:

  • Innovative approaches to critical, qualitative research (e.g., theoretically, methodologically, representationally, aesthetically, etc.).
  • Rich, nuanced, and complex insights into and/or applications of BGS.
  • Provocative uses of critical and qualitative methods to challenge and extend BGS.

Exemplars of how BGS can be challenged and extended include, but are not limited to, works that explore the following questions:

  • What is BGS and how does the work of BGS incite methodological disruption?
  • How do various theoretical frameworks (i.e., Hip Hop Feminism, Womanism, Black Feminist Theory, Postcolonial Feminist Theory) inform the work of BGS; SOLHOT;
  • Organizing girls and women of color?
  • In what ways do Black girls, girls of color and BGS disrupt the politics of respectability (e.g., decentering cisgender normativity/heteronormativity, queer girl cultures)?
  • In what ways do Black girls influence, shape and use popular culture to explore, make, and take freedom? How do they use digital technology and new media to make and take freedom? What knowledge has been produced through arts and performance-based work with Black girls and girls of color?
  • In what ways does exploring Black girlhood diasporically (e.g., both the diaspora within the United States—Southern Black girls, Northern Black girls, Midwestern Black girls, Western/Southwestern Black girls, Afro-Latina, Caribbean-American, 1st/2nd Generation African-American—and outside of the United States) shape BGS and Diaspora studies?
  • Explore the organizing traditions of Black girls; Black girls and Black women; and girls of color
  • In what ways does centering Black girls/girls of color shape and reimagine liberatory movements and freedom practices of the past and present (e.g., #SayHerName, #BlackLivesMatter, etc.)?
  • What relationship resides between SOLHOT and BGS?
  • In what ways are BGS and Gender and Women’s Studies in relationship?
  • What is Black Girl Genius, or, what are the multiple ways (vernacular/language, games, music, performance and visual art, etc.) Black girls intellectually apply their collective embodied knowledge to make freedom?
  • What are the wellness and self-care practices that emerge from centering and working from girlhood?

The deadline for abstract submissions is Thursday, December 31, 2015. The deadline for final papers is Thursday, March 31, 2016. Authors should identify their manuscripts as a “Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths Special Issue Submission.” All abstracts and final papers must be submitted electronically through the ScholarOne Manuscripts site for Departures.

Manuscripts should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (2010) with endnotes. Manuscripts should be prepared in a 12-point common font, should be double-spaced, and should not exceed 9,000 words including endnotes. Manuscript title pages should be submitted as a separate file and include: (1) the title of the essay, (2) any acknowledgments, including the history of the manuscript if any part of it has been presented at a conference or included as part of a thesis or dissertation, and (3) author bio(s) of not more than 100 words each. Manuscripts should include: (1) the title of the essay, (2) an abstract of not more than 100 words, (3) a list of five suggested keywords, and (4) an accurate word count (including notes). Images, figures, and other ancillary materials should be submitted as separate files and conform to the Departures instructions for file size and format (see below).

Authors of accepted manuscripts will be responsible for clearing the necessary reproduction rights for any images, photos, figures, music, or content credited to a third party (including content found on the Internet), that fall outside of the fair use provisions described in US copyright law. Authors of accepted manuscripts will be asked to provide separate image and grayscale TIF files at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi, line art should be submitted as Illustrator EPS files at a resolution of 600 to 1200 dpi and in bitmap mode. Please do not embed images or grayscale or line art in Word files.

Abstracts will be reviewed by a Special Issue Editorial Board and should not be under review by any other publication venue. To inquire about this special issue, please contact:

Chamara Jewel Kwakye, PhD
Assistant Professor
Gender & Women’s Studies & African American & Africana Studies
University of Kentucky
207 Breckinridge Hall
Lexington, KY 40506
cj [dot] kwakye [at] uky [dot] edu

Dominique C. Hill, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor
Educational Leadership
Miami University
306J McGuffey Hall
Oxford, OH 45056
hilldc [at] miamioh [dot] edu

Durell M. Callier, PhD
Co-Curator Hill L. Waters
Education Policy, Organization and Leadership
University of Illinois
1310 S. 6th Street
Champaign, IL 61820
callier2 [at] illinois [dot] edu

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