Liquid Blackness CFP - "Informalisms"

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Corey Couch / liquid blackness


liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies issue 8.1, Spring 2024

The problem of “form" is perhaps most acute when considering art historical discourse’s attachment to the analytical and political possibilities of formal readings, and, conversely, Black Studies’ embrace of the informality of black aesthetic practices. Within this broad and deliberately meta-disciplinary context, this issue asks about informalisms – where “isms” signals methodology, process, and a plurality of approaches to informality—in order to explore the complicated relation between Black Studies, aesthetic theory/practice, and formalist methodologies. More directly, it seeks to know: What is at stake in formal readings of black art? What is at stake in aesthetic practices invested in formal interventions? And, more profoundly and consequentially: If “form” is a way in which art knows itself to be art, then how does black art know itself? And how does it know that it knows?

liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies issue 8.1 proposes “informalisms” as a way to engage with the stakes (or rejection) of form in black aesthetic theory, and to home in on the relationship between form and informality in black art and expressive culture. That is, we offer “informalisms” as a hypothesis that might pose some, often contentious, additional questions: 

What are Black Studies’ stakes in formalism? What are Black Studies’ stakes in informality? And what are informalism’s possibilities for Black Studies? Can “form” operate apart from extractive processes of abstraction, the violences of universality, or the formal equivalences that undergird processes of exchange? What does Black Studies’ turn to aesthetic form do for its commitment to black sociality? Under what circumstances can form be a principle or a strategy of/for socialization? How does informality know itself through aesthetic practices?

We invite submissions that think along these questions from a variety of disciplinary approaches that engage with, creatively respond to, as well as add to the following prompts: 

  • form/informality 
  • informality/formlessness 
  • formation/deformation 
  • form/reform 
  • formative/informative 
  • informants/performants/deformants 
  • formal equalities/equations/equivalences 
  • knowing/self-knowing 
  • informality/undercommonsensicality 
  • improvisation 
  • abstraction 
  • figure/ground relation 

 Submissions Due: January 15, 2023 

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Author Guidelines & Submission Information 

  • Submission Types: 
    • Traditional essays: approx. 3-5,000 words (including footnotes)—all essays should be accompanied by at least one image. (Please consider “fair use” of visual materials included, as you draft your piece and please consult previous journal issues for inspiration on how to be in dialog with visual materials) 
    • We welcome submissions of interviews, visual and textual art, video, and other artistic work. Before submitting, please send your inquiries/proposals to 
    • Questions about the length, style, format of experimental submissions can be directed to 
  • liquid blackness follows the formatting and reference guidelines stipulated by The Chicago Manual of Style 
  • All submissions, solicited and unsolicited, will be peer-reviewed 
  • Media Specifications 
    • We welcome the submission of media files such as video or sound clips, which will be published as supplementary data. The following audio and video file types are acceptable as supplementary data files and supported by our online platform: .mp3, .mp4, .wav, .wma, .au, .m4a, .mpg, .mpeg, .mov, .avi, .wmv., html. 
    • Executable files (.exe) are not acceptable. 
    • There is no restriction on the number of files per article or on the size of files; however, please keep in mind that very large files may be problematic for readers with slow connection speeds. 
    • Please ensure that each video or audio clip is called out in the text of the article, much like how a figure or table is called out: e.g., “see supplementary audio file 1.” 

About liquid blackness 

liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies is sponsored by Georgia State University for its College of the Arts and is published twice yearly by Duke University Press on behalf of liquid blackness Limited.