Reflecting Black: 400 Hundred Years of African American Life and History (1619-2019) Reminder

deadline for submissions: 
September 6, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Jonathan Chism / University of Houston-Downtown
contact email: 

Call for Papers

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 commemorating400 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 promote cutting-edge research in Africana studies produced by scholars and emerging scholars. During the symposium, we will also discuss effective transdisciplinary pedagogical strategies and creative methods that faculty might employ to enrich the educational experiences of students of color, especially transfer and first-generation college students.


The Symposium Committee welcomes 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                                            




The African Diaspora                                          

Black Greek Fraternities and Sororities



Black Masculinity                                                

Black Feminism                                     

Queer Black Studies                                            

Race and Politics 


Call for Papers Timetable:

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


 1. 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

 2. Notification of Acceptance of Proposals

The Committee will contact authors regarding the status of their proposals on a rolling basis, starting August 1. Early submissions are welcomed and encouraged. By September 19, 2019, the Committee will make a decision on all proposals.  

 3. 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
  • I am interested in having my paper considered for publication in an edited volume. ___Yes ___No (Please check)


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:

$1,000 Best Graduate Student Paper

$500 Best Undergraduate Student Paper

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.


Publication Opportunity

The Committee plans to invite selected students to include their papers for consideration in an edited book manuscript.


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

Dr. Jonathan Chism is the assistant professor of history at the University of Houston-Downtown. He teaches a variety of courses at UHD including but not limited to History of the New South After 1865, History of the Civil Rights Movement, History of Race and Sports, and History of Religion in the United States. He is the author of Saints in the Struggle: Church of God in Christ Activists in the Memphis Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968.