CFP: African American Expression in Print and Digital Culture (Deadline: 1/24/14)

Call For Papers: African American Expression in Print and Digital Culture
Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture
University of Wisconsin, Madison

September 19-21, 2014

Madison, WI

Recent scholarship has brought attention to the possibilities of disciplinary intersections of print and digital culture with African American studies. For example, Leon Jackson has suggested numerous “advantages to be gained from an alliance between book historians and scholars of African American cultures of print” (Book History 13, 2010). Recent edited collections like Cohen & Stein’s 2012 Early African American Print Culture and Hutchinson & Young’s 2013 Publishing Blackness are strong evidence in support of Jackson’s claim and the richness of the work to be done in this field.

By not framing itself within a particular period or form of expression, the conference seeks to further this conversation through a capacious exploration of African American print and digital cultures. We hope the conference will highlight work from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives and will explore diverse objects of study in African American media. 

We imagine topics may include, but are certainly not limited to, explorations of African American print and digital cultures and:

•    Book history, media studies

•    Reproduction, originality, imitation

•    Periodization, “Earliness,” “first-ness,” “post-ness”

•    Archives (actual and metaphorical)

•    Institutions, libraries, museums, collectors, programs

•    Sonic, visual, oral, and performance cultures

•    Anthologization and “recovery”

•    Periodicals and serialization

•    Publishers, readers, networks, platforms

•    Race, intellectual property, and the law

•    Digital media and social networks (e.g., #blacktwitter)

•    African American publics and counterpublics

•    The African diaspora, transnationalisms, hemispheric orientations

Proposals for complete panels (three 20-minute or four 15-minute papers), complete panels of roundtable discussants, or individual papers should include a 250-word abstract per paper and a one-page cv for each presenter. Proposals for innovative forms of presentation are welcome in consultation with the organizing committee. Submissions should be made via email to The deadline for submissions is January 24, 2014. Notifications of acceptance will be made in April 2014.

P. Gabrielle Foreman, the Ned B. Allen Professor of English and Professor of Black American Studies at the University of Delaware, will deliver a keynote address. UW-Madison Libraries and Wisconsin Historical Society archives feature strong collections of African American literature, history, and culture, and may be of interest to visiting participants.

As with previous conferences, we anticipate producing a volume of essays expanded and developed from the conference for publication in the Center’s series, “Print Culture History in Modern America,” published by the University of Wisconsin Press. A list of books that the Center has produced is available at our website ( and the press’ website (

For information contact:

Jonathan Senchyne, Associate Director,

Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture


Anna Palmer, Coordinator,

Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture

Conference committee: Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, Ethelene Whitmire, Brigitte Fielder, Jonathan Senchyne