The Message Is?: Searching for Spiritual and Religious Meaning in the work of Arthur Jafa

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Nathanael Homewood/DePauw University

The Message Is? is an edited volume dedicated to exploring the expressed and sometimes hidden gems of black spirituality found in the creativity of the award-winning artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa. Nathanael J. Homewood and Isis Pickens are co-editing this volume.

We are inviting chapter proposals. Please consider submitting a 250-word abstract briefly outlining your potential chapter contribution.  We kindly ask that these be submitted by March 15, 2021, and be emailed to

From Daughters of the Dust to Akingdoncomethas, Jafa has captured the virtuosity of black spirituality as it moves, falls, sings, screams, testifies, and denies. In a May 2015 conversation concerning black spirituality and art, Jafa asserted to Isis Pickens, "I believe in black people believing." This edited collection aims to gather diverse pieces exploring Jafa's work and religion/spirituality.

This could include, but is not limited, to some of the following questions:

- How is Jafa's work a spiritual or religious critique?

- What, if any, elements of black spirituality are present in Jafa's work? How are these elements defined?

- What does it mean to be moved?

- How has Jafa's work defined or redefined spirit/Holy Spirit?

- How does his idea of "found" (or "dope shite connects to dope shit") critique Christian theologies of found?

- How do Jafa's aesthetics demonstrate theological possibilities?

- In what ways does Jafa's work intersect or respond to black liberation and womanist theologies?

- In what ways does Jafa's work expand ideas of inclusion while simultaneously creating exclusivity?