CFP: Reflecting Black: 400 Years of African American Life and History, University of Houston-Downtown Fall Symposium (Deadline: 9.6.2019)

CFP: University of Houston-Downtown Fall Symposium

Reflecting Black: 400 Years of African American Life and History

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of History, Humanities, and Languages, and Center for Critical Race Studies is hosting a Symposium commemorating 400 Years of African American Life and History. This year, 2019, marks the four hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the first documented Africans to the North American continent. Undoubtedly, the past four centuries of African American life have been replete with trauma, struggle, and resiliency. The Symposium will examine the centrality of race and racism throughout United States history and ongoing efforts to dismantle structural systems of oppression. We will also highlight the myriad achievements and contributions African Americans have made to various sectors in the United States.

The Symposium aims to provide undergraduate students interested in Africana studies opportunities to engage and network with graduate students performing cutting-edge research in Africana studies. We also seek to provide graduate students at a wide range of colleges and universities opportunities to engage UHD faculty concerning transdisciplinary pedagogical strategies and creative methods that enrich educational experiences of students of color, especially transfer and first-generation college students.

2019 Call for Papers

The Symposium Committee welcomes undergraduate and graduate students at UHD and other institutions to submit paper proposals and abstracts on any of the following topics:

Slavery and Resistance                                         Citizenship and Armed Forces

Race and Racial Formation/Identity                    African American Literature and Creativity

Black Language/Dialect                                       African and African American Art

Entertainment (Music, Film, Dance)                   Civil Rights Movement

Black and Brown Coalitions                                             Education

Afrocentrism                                                         Pan-Africanism

The African Diaspora                                            Black Greek Fraternities and Sororities

#BlackGirlMagic                                                  #BlackBoyJoy

Black Masculinity                                                 Black Feminism

Queer Black Studies                                              Race and Politics

Black Religion                                                      Race and Sports

Black Lives Matter                                                Afrofuturism

Including Other Related Topics



Any students registered for undergraduate or graduate courses in Fall 2019.

 Call for Papers Timetable:

Timely submission of papers is critical to the success of the Symposium. The procedures and timetable enumerated below will apply.

  • Deadline for Proposals and Abstract
    By September 6, 2019, authors should submit a one to two page proposal for their papers including: 1) the title of the paper; 2) a 500-word abstract. The abstract should provide a brief summary of the paper and include the paper’s purpose, methodology and design, major interpretations, and conclusions. Proposals, along with authors’ contact information, should be submitted via the Symposium Website.
  • Notification of Acceptance of Proposals
    By September 19, 2019, the Reflecting Black Selection Committee will make a decision on all proposals. The Committee will contact authors regarding their proposals and presenting their papers at the Symposium scheduled for October 24 at UHD.
  • Symposium Registration: Students whose proposals have been accepted should register to attend and present their papers at the Symposium by emailing the following information to Dr. Jonathan Chism ( by September 23, 2019.●        Your Name

    ●        Paper Title

    ●        Institutional Affiliation

    ●        Short Biography

  •   Paper Presentation Details: For undergraduate students, the paper presentation should be between 12-15 minutes (approx. 1200-1500 words, 6-8 pp.), with 5-10 minutes reserved for questions and discussion. For graduate students, the paper presentation should be between 15-20 minutes (approx. 1500 – 2000 words, 8 – 10 pp.), with 10 minutes reserved for questions and discussion.

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Prize Competition

All papers accepted for the Symposium that meet the minimum standards established by the Committee will be included in the Reflecting Black Competition. To be eligible for the Competition, students need to submit their complete papers for consideration by October 1, 2019 and present at the Symposium. The undergraduate and graduate students with the best papers will receive prizes at the conclusion of the Symposium. The criteria for evaluation will be based on the following: 1) Critical Engagement, Interpretation, and Analysis of Academic Sources; 2) Originality of ideas; 3) Clarity of presentation; and 4) Creativity.

Please address questions to Dr. Jonathan Chism via e-mail at