Call for Papers: Black Geographies (Summer 2023)

Guest Editor: Danielle M. Purifoy (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Deadline for Submissions: July 9, 2022

Southern Cultures encourages submissions from scholars, writers, and artists for a special issue, Black Geographies, to be published Summer 2023. We will accept submissions for this issue through July 9, 2022.

As Marcus Hunter and Zandria Robinson articulate about U.S. geography in Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life, “the maps are wrong.” In this issue, we invite submissions that upend dominant cartographies of the Global South, that ignore accepted spatial boundaries to tether spaces considered separate, and trace stories across spaces with names absented from current maps. These maps can be stories, art, cartography, poetry, essays, interviews, music, and more. They can be about people, emotions, objects, experiences, or memories from the past and future. The maps can  represent different scales, from the intergalactic to the microscopic.

There is no space untouched by Blackness, and no questioning the influences on our architecture, landscapes, foodways, political practices, and aesthetics of Black people and cultures, which are often rendered un-geographic, or without spatial significance. The spatial representations of Blackness and physical gathering of Black people anywhere remain simultaneously targets of destruction and locations of creativity, improvisation, joy, and the possibility for liberated ways of living. And thus, Blackness shapes all the Souths that have been and ever will be. Together, we will create  new maps as portals to Black spatial memory, and the myriad influences of Blackness on spaces not typically associated with Blackness. We mean Blackness in all its multitudes—queer, lesbian, trans, Indigenous, gay, immigrant, undocumented, poor, femme, disabled, Latinx, fat, Asian, feminist, womanist, neurodivergent, and more.

We invite alternative maps of our present, and those that locate Black people in the future Global Souths.

Some questions to consider:

  • What kind of place is a Black place and what makes a space Black?
  • What ideas do media create about Black spatiality (physical and virtual)?
  • How do Black communities navigate the legalized demarcations of space?
  • How does Black space feel/sound/smell/taste?
  • What Black places/spaces do we think we know, but don’t really?
  • How do Black communities navigate spatial threats/loss?
  • How do Black places create systems of safety amid various forms of violence?
  • What Black spatial memories are we mis-remembering?
  • What are Black spatial aesthetics and where did they come from?
  • How do Black people navigate disparate geographies?
  • Who are Black geographies scholars/practioners who we don’t think of as geographers?
  • What stories can we tell about the ecologies of Black spaces?
  • How does the Atlantic’s significance relate to other regions of Black geographic significance, such as the Mediterranean?
  • Are Black land relations different than property relations?
  • Where is the legacy/continuation of marronage in the U.S. South?
  • Where are Black people in the future?

We encourage full engagement with Black geographies scholarship and theories, though we are most interested in Black spatial thought from where you are situated as artists, scholars, musicians, writers, journalists, cartographers, activists, entrepreneurs, creators and makers, and  from where you are geographically in relation to the South. We seek a Black South Atlas filled with spaces we think we know from angles we haven’t seen, with stories of Black space travel and Black place creation, with memories of Black forest and ocean and swamp ecologies, with topographies of Black music and dance, and with maps of Black sacred places whose locations we cannot know.

Submissions can explore any topic or theme, and we welcome investigations of the region in the forms Southern Cultures publishes: scholarly articles, memoir (first-person or collective), interviews, surveys, photo essays, and shorter feature essays.

As Southern Cultures publishes digital content, we encourage creativity in coordinating print and digital materials in submissions and ask that authors submit any potential video, audio, and interactive visual content with their essay or introduction/artist’s statement. We encourage authors to gain familiarity with the tone, scope, and style of our journal before submitting. For full submissions guidelines, please click here.

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