A Cultural Experience: The Role of Theatre at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (an edited volume)

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Khalid Y. Long and DeRon S. Williams
contact email: 

Since their inception dating back to as early as 1829, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have continuously represented the notion of possibility and hope for African Americans. As an initial action, these organizations emphasized the educational improvement of Blacks at the elementary and secondary levels. Since the creation of the first HBCU, these institutions of academic excellence have transformed exclusively into postsecondary institutions, ultimately forming a network where thousands of African descendants could obtain an education that they otherwise could not afford due to years of educational suppression and segregation in higher education. These institutions have “imbued African American students with an empowering Black cultural identity that countered then-dominant white supremacist ideas about the origins of Black people and the contributions of Black people to the world.”[1] Even today, Black higher education institutions remain committed to preparing African American students with the skills necessary to flourish in a white society, including an infinite number of African American artists. 

While numerous critical studies have been published on HBCUs and their overall place within higher education, there needs to be more critical attention dedicated to studying HBCUs and theatre programs. Accordingly, Historically Black Colleges and Universities played, and continue to play, a pivotal role in shaping American theatre academically and professionally. From serving as actors, designers, and management training programs to advancing Black dramas as a legitimate area of study within academia, HBCUs have provided many students and professors with an opportunity for a cultural experience. 

The editors Khalid Y. Long and DeRon S. Williams have received an invitation to submit a proposal to the University of Georgia Press for a developing area of monographs dedicated to studying Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Thus, we seek chapters that critically engage with the history, culture, and innovative role that HBCUs have played in cultivating theatre within academia and beyond. In particular, we are interested in submissions that will take up groundbreaking pioneers, historical and contemporary perspectives, institutional formations, innovative productions, and revolutionary curriculum development. We invite proposals that will provide historical overviews and critical case studies highlighting the role of HBCUs and theatre as a foundation for identity formation, community building, artist development, and preparation for professional and academic theatre careers. 


Submission Requirements & Timeline

Abstract Submission Deadline – February 15, 2023

  • Full Abstract (400-500 words)
  • 100-word abbreviated abstract for inclusion in the book proposal
  • Short Bio (No more than 200 words)


Notification – March 15, 2023


Complete Essay Submission – January 15, 2024

  • 7000-8000 words, including notes and bibliography


Please send all submissions and inquiries to hbcutheatre@gmail.com.  

[1] Wilson Mbajekew, Carolyn O., ed. The Future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Ten Presidents Speak Out. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2006.