CFP: The Handbook of African American Literature in the Twenty-First Century

deadline for submissions: 
November 11, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Belinda Waller-Peterson & Robert LaRue / Moravian University
contact email: 

CFP- The Handbook of African American Literature in the Twenty-First Century

Editors: Belinda Waller-Peterson (Moravian University) and Robert LaRue (Moravian University)


Just over a decade into the twenty-first century, Kenneth W. Warren announced the death of African American literature in What Was African American Literature? (2011). Warren argues that the end of Jim Crow America and the resulting shifts in African American political energies created a rupture in Black American writing such that it no longer holds at its core the cultural, political, and social impetus that once drove it, Warren issued a call to rethink the political demands placed on African American literature and African American writers. 

In her recent book What Is African American Literature (2021), Margo N. Crawford positions African American literature as a project of black affect wherein readers and writers stand united in the construction of a “black mood, of a black feeling world” (22, italics in original). Crawford’s move to foreground black feeling and put literary historicism into perspective refigures African American literature to be more expansive and inclusive in its authorship and canonization. For Crawford, African American literature transgresses the chronology and temporal markers offered by Warren. Taken together, these works signal a need for a moment of reflection on what African American Literature means in this new millennium.

We are formally calling for contributions to The Handbook of African American Literature in the Twenty-First Century, a collection that highlights historical literary traditions within the field and engages the changes and challenges in African American literary production, especially as this literature is enmeshed in and responds to contemporary events.   

The below-listed topics represent the project’s current scope and areas open for submissions. In addition to these topics, we also strongly encourage submissions on any topic related to African American literature and culture. We invite contributions that embrace the features of the field that can serve as fertile ground for cultivating the discourses going forward in the Black American experience.


Topics include, but are not limited to: 

  • African American Literary Tradition

  • Identity, Authenticity, Solidarity

  • Black  Diasporic Literature

  • Autobiography, Auto-fiction, Manifestos

  • Black Feminist and/or Womanist Thought

  • Queer of Color Critique, Queer Studies

  • Ritual, Faith, Spirituality, and Religion

  • Health, Wellness, Illness Narratives

  • Environment, Environmental Justice

  • Media, Technology

  • Space (physical, virtual, and otherwise)

  • Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction

  • Urban Literature

  • Youth Literature

  • Graphic Narratives

Please send abstracts of 250-500 words to editors Drs. Belinda Waller-Peterson and Robert LaRue at by Friday, November 11, 2022. Invitations to contribute full essays will be sent by Friday, January 6, 2023. The anticipated deadline for first drafts is July 31, 2023.