Special Issue on Amiri Baraka
This issue of JAST will be dedicated to the works and legacy of Amiri Baraka—poet, dramatist, essayist and activist. Formerly known as LeRoi Jones, Amiri Baraka entered the Greenwich Village literary scene in 1957 as one of the most original poets and editors of the new writing and poetry that was emerging outside of academia and the established publishing world. Baraka’s profound and pointed criticism took shape in the milieu of the racial brutality of the 1960s, and continued to transform as Black Power was put into practice. Amidst assassinations and urban rebellions, he retreated to his hometown, Newark, New Jersey, and committed himself to African American cultural expression in the broadest sense of the term. This commitment ranged from local organizing to elect a mayor, to reviving Newark’s jazz legacy.
From the 1960s until his death in 2014, Baraka wrote and responded to daily realities at the local, national and international levels. This constant creative involvement attests to his position as a genuine witness of his times. His half-century long political and literary involvement parallels the variables and constants in Baraka’s writing and thinking, which are unfolded in his 1966 essay “The Changing Same.” The movements and events with which he was associated also place him at a unique intersection of diverse peoples and ideas. Moreover, by writing and thinking openly about his experiences studying and confronting various ideologies (and often enduring harsh criticism because of it), he revolutionized how we think of ourselves as political agents.
The guest editor of this special issue of the Journal of American Studies of Turkey seeks original, previously unpublished manuscripts that examine Amiri Baraka’s life, work and legacy from all possible perspectives. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Music/jazz criticism
- Black Arts Movement and its legacy
- Poetry and poetics
- Local and (trans)national politics
- Black power and self-determination experiments in Newark
- Newark-inspired self-determination practices
- Political and artistic allegiances and correspondences
- Gender issues
- Comparative studies
- Teaching Amiri Baraka
- Amiri Baraka in Turkey
- Personal reminiscences of students and/or colleagues
Full-text manuscripts of between 6,000 and 8,000 words in MLA style (with parenthetical internal citations, a Works Cited page, minimal footnotes, and in Times New Roman 12-point font), as well as shorter personal essays, commentaries, and book/film reviews should be emailed as Microsoft Word attachments to Ozge Ozbek Akiman (firstname.lastname@example.org) by January 1, 2019. Please include a one-paragraph bio with all manuscripts. Topic inquiries are welcome prior to full-text submission.