CFP: Mapping Black Women's Lives, Special Issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies (Deadline Extended: 1.15.2020)

Call for Papers for a Special Issue: Spring 2021

Deadline Extended: 15 January 2020

Mapping Black Women’s Lives

For this special issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, we seek papers that employ diverse and/or interdisciplinary methodologies to recover and situate (geographically and theoretically) Black female lives throughout the African diaspora. How do we write with and against archival silences and violences? What role does digitization play in making visible or further marginalizing Black women’s life writing? We are particularly interested in scholarly efforts that redefine, transform, or reform the spaces and places in which Black women’s cultural contributions were recorded (or not). Where and how do we map the lives of Black women?

Topics include but are not limited to the following:

·         Cartography, maps, mapping, and journeys in Black women’s life narrative

·         Forced displacements

·         Dangerous moves

·         Middle passages as trans-historical consciousness

·         Relationships between faith systems, movement and racialized geographies

·         Examining Diaspora through Life Writing

·         Travel to and through archives

·         How geography shapes who and what we recover

·         Global perspectives on mapping Black women’s lives

·         Methodologies for locating and mapping Black women’s lives

·         Pedagogical approaches to mapping Black women’s lives and/or reading journeys in Black women’s life narratives

·         Auto-theoretical approaches to mapping and/or studying Black women’s lives in transit

Submission Instructions

Send original articles of 6000-7000 words (including works cited and notes), keywords, an abstract, and a brief biographical statement to Kimberly Blockett ( We welcome essays that include images and are able to print in color without author fees. a/b also publishes ancillary digital and multimedia texts on the journal’s Routledge website. Inquiries welcome.

All essays must follow the format of Chicago Manuel of Style (17th edition). Essays submitted for the special issue, but not selected, may be considered general submissions and may be selected for publication. In order to ensure a confidential peer review, remove any identifying information, including citations that refer to you as the author in the first person. Cite previous publications, etc. with your last name to preserve your anonymity in the reading process. Include your name, address, email, the title of your essay, and your affiliation in a cover letter or cover sheet for your essay. It is the author’s responsibility to secure any necessary copyright permissions and essays may not progress into the publication stage without written proof of right to reprint. Images with captions must be submitted in a separate file as 300 dpi (or higher) tiff files with captions. Please indicate placement of images in the text.

Editors’ Biographical Statements

Guest Editor, Kimberly Blockett, Associate Professor of English at Penn State Brandywine, is a C19 literary historian. She uses archives and cultural geography to examine black female movement and subjectivity. Blockett’s publications include MELUSLegacy, MLA Approaches to Teaching Hurston, and the Cambridge History of African American Literature. The archival work for her forthcoming monograph and annotated edition of Zilpha Elaw’s Memoirs was funded by fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Smithsonian, NEH, and Harvard Divinity School.