The Living Legacy of African American Studies: Its Past, Present, and Future(s)

deadline for submissions: 
March 4, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
LaRonda Sanders-Senu, Laura Wilson, Adria Goldman



The Living Legacy of African American Studies: Its Past, Present, and Future(s)


Edited by: Adria Y. Goldman, Ph.D., LaRonda Sanders-Senu, Ph.D., and Laura Wilson, Ph.D.


“There is the definite desire and determination to have a history, well documented, widely known at least within race circles, and administered as a stimulating and inspiring tradition for the coming generations” - Arturo Schomburg, “The Negro Digs Up His Past” 


What is African American Studies? Where is it located? Why is it important? What does its future look like? 


As Schomburg rightly predicted in 1925, the recognition and celebration of African American history and culture has been inspiring to generations of Americans. Scholars of African American Studies have not just explored how African Americans “have helped the country live up to its founding ideals” as Nikole Hannah-Jones so eloquently opined in the 1619 Project, but they also continue to interrogate how the past informs and will inform the future. In his 2012 book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstruction of Higher Education, 1965-1972, Ibram X. Kendi suggests that students who pressured university administration and organized strikes during the 1960s “wanted a curriculum that provided culturally specific methods and models through which they could reconstruct social, political, and economic infrastructures and values within Africana communities.” This collection seeks to further such conversations by offering a wide ranging survey of the field, that examines these pertinent questions and more. 

The first section of the proposed monograph will offer historical and cultural contexts for African American studies, considering where the discipline began and what subjects it incorporates. We encourage a widening of the geographical reach for the discipline to include all regions of the United States, as well as international, diasporic considerations, and anticipate that the timeline for the field may stretch back as far as ancient civilization. A second section will be devoted to case studies or applications of the discipline throughout time, i.e., literary readings, sociological examinations, archeological discoveries, historical moments, anthropological studies, artistic responses, journalism and media pieces, and so on. Our hope is also to offer practical pedagogical tools such as syllabi, lesson plans, assignment ideas, and other useful methodologies for bringing the discipline into the classroom. 

            We welcome an array of perspectives, theories, and methodologies.  The goal of the project is to feature an interdisciplinary collection of essays from academic scholars, industry experts, and public figures. Essays will explore African American studies in some regard, positing assertions about its historical, social, political, and/or cultural significance. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Historical overview of African American Studies (such as early African American education, the campus movements of the 20th century, establishment of African American Studies courses and departments., prominent proponents of the field, students, faculty, administration involvement etc.)
  • Significance of African American studies in a specific field or industry (ex: politics, health, sociology, psychology, communication, education, literature, music)
  • Studying Historically Black Colleges and Universities 
  • Applications of African American Studies within STEM 
  • African American Rhetoric in traditional and/or digital spaces, or the application of African American Studies in digital humanities projects 
  • Representations of African American culture in media 
  • Archival research and the place of African American Studies in the Galleries Libraries Archives and Museums sphere (GLAMs) 
  • The evolution, significance, and/or function of hip-hop or other subcultures
  • Issues in the entertainment industry 
  • Linguistics i.e., AAVE, slang, and language e.g, Arabic, Yoruba 
  • Colorism and its impact 
  • Historical monuments and heritage tourism 
  • Conversations on or implications of Critical Race Theory 
  • Discussion of a specific African American figure or event, and its significance 
  • Protests, demonstrations, social justice movements 
  • Historical and contemporary issues faced by African American Studies
  • Significance of intersectionality in African American Studies (e.g. Black Feminist Thought, Womanism, LGBTQIA experience)
  • Pan-Africanism, Afro-Centricity, Black British Studies, Caribbean Studies 
  • Human subject research exploring the significance of African American Studies (requires approval from an Institutional Review Board)
  • Artistic responses to African American Studies (i.e., documentaries, collage, painting, digital art, poetry, sculpture, music, theater) 
  • Memories of African American Studies during a particular place and time 


This collection is being proposed to University of Georgia Press, who solicited the editors for a volume of this type as part of their New Southern Studies series. The publisher is aware of the current stage of the project and has expressed significant interest. As we think about where Southern Studies is and how we are doing it today then, questions such as whose stories is it telling? and in whose hands should it be? are the ones that should be at the forefront of our minds.

Submission requirements

Interested parties should submit (1) a 300-500 word chapter abstract and (2) a 50 word author bio, as one Microsoft Word document, to by Friday March 15, 2022. Accepted writers will be notified by the end of March, with completed essays due Wednesday June 15, 2022. The final submission should be 10-20 pages (double-spaced; including references and illustrations) in APA format. Authors are responsible for securing any necessary permissions or IRB approval.


Collection Editors


Adria Y. Goldman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Communication

University of Mary Washington 


LaRonda Sanders-Senu, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor of English

Middle Georgia State University 


Laura Wilson, Ph.D.

CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for African American Studies

Fisk University