"Blackness" in Contemporary African American Artistic Expression, a panel at (dis)junctions 2013, Apr 5-6. DEADLINE Feb. 11

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University of California, Riverside
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This is a panel call for the 20th Annual (dis)junctions Graduate Conference in the Humanities at the University of California, Riverside. This year’s general theme “encountering with(in) texts,” examines the impact of situatedness, unexpectedness, and/or unpreparedness on “face to text” encounters with media objects, embodied encounters negotiated through or overdetermined by texts, and representations of “encountering” within texts. Please visit www.disjunctions2013.org for more information on this year’s theme, our other subject- and discipline-specific panel calls, and Keynote Speaker Dr. Nicholas Mirzeoff.

In his book What was African American Literature?, Kenneth W. Warren argues that, in this post 9/11 moment, black art as synonymous with the Jim Crow notion of “blackness” is antiquated and does nothing but perpetuate of a “misunderstand[ing of] both the nature of the previous regime and the defining elements of the current one” because the “previous orientation can no longer provide coherence for a contemporary African American literary” in that the point and purpose of African American artistic expression is more than justifying and/or signing prescribed criteria that shows the bias and inhumanity of the dominant (5, 6). Yet the traditional sanctioned space of "blackness" continually attempts to reassert itself through states of authority of what is taught, what is read, and what is discussed (e.g. the canonization of certain authors or works like The Signifyin' Monkey with the exclusion of Talkin and Testifyn') as traditional notions of access and connection not only characterize encounters with the content itself and those of traditional definitions, but also how the content and definitions are to be utilized in reifying the already held concept of "blackness". In other words, the point and purpose of contemporary black art is not simply and only to depict the historical atrocity of the people or the body, but to also show how the change in very landscape of possible meanings is changing the discourse itself.

In the spirit of the (dis)junctions theme of encounters which "stress[es] a sense of unanticipated or oppositional" as it interacts with the traditionally endorsed, this panel seeks to address ways in which these "meetings" of traditional and contemporary artistic expressions of "blackness" have changed since 9/11 as it relates, comments, critiques, and augments on the traditionally endorsed definitions of artistic expression.

Potential areas might include:

• Theoretical approaches/methodology
• Genre blurring & emerging genres
• Homi Bhabha's notion of "metonymy of presence"
• Hyperfiction & digital influences
• Textual analysis
• Memoir, creative nonfiction, emerging genres
• Recent developments in Graphic literature
• Lineages/influences/comparative studies
• Ethnicity, gender, narrative identity
• Post 9/11 literature: parameters, categorical usefulness
• Literature of loss, unease

We welcome abstracts of 250-300 words, to be submitted to disjunctions2013@gmail.com with the subject line "African American Panel" no later than February 11, 2013. Submissions are especially welcome from those positioned outside the university (community organizers, independent scholars, recent or not-so-recent graduates, artists, and others). Presentations are to be 20 minutes in length. Please include your name, email address, departmental affiliation, institution, and phone number with your abstract.

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