Liquid Blackness CFP - "Catastrophe (a black gathering)"

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Liquid Blackness

CFP—“Catastrophe (a black gathering)”

liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies issue 8.2, Fall 2024

Now more than ever the phrase “now more than ever” falls flat. Indeed, the reason we have this shorthand for crises approaching a critical value and inciting calamitous and irreversible effects is because, despite the finality of “cancellation” or “market crash,” mounting disaster does not equal the end. And, if this isn’t the end, we might also avoid positioning the violence of catastrophic change as the beginning. Popularized by mathematician René Thom, catastrophe theory was developed to examine the points in which mounting pressure results in abrupt overturnings and the shift to new systems. This model was largely abandoned when it proved to be an inaccurate predictor of social behaviors; still, the curvilinear shape of Thom’s theory diagrams an experience of the middle that apocalyptic thinking always forgets.

At the center of Thom’s model is a point of violent folding and curving called the “catastrophic cusp” where, in a sense, all bets are off. If Black people are always relegated to this depressed position that occurs before and after stability, what and when is our catastrophic potential? This issue of liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies stops here—not the end and not the beginning, to explore the anoriginal aesthetics of catastrophe. Thom’s model illustrates the cusp as a space of distortion that occurs at the point of gathering that—as demonstrated in the critical work of Sylvia Wynter, Katherine McKittrick, Denise Ferreira da Silva, and Calvin Warren among so many others—has always been the purview of Black Studies. Thus, this issue of liquid blackness seeks to gather the work of scholars, artists, and curators using methodologies that center blackness and the audacious act of gathering.

We welcome submissions that follow their own catastrophic curves in exceptional works of audiovisual art and quotidian images like weather reports, prison architecture, or protest images to explore the way blackness and black people navigate catastrophic continuities.


Possible topics include:

·      Black Data

o   math, science, and the “physics of blackness” (wright, 2015)

o   accumulation/debt

o   forecasting

o   data management/loss

·      Sound/Image Crises

o   recognition/misrecognition

o   appearance/disappearance

o   remembering/forgetting trauma

·      Gathering

o   proximities: intimacies, neighboring, contagion…

o   distances: borders, edges, amplification…

·      Catastrophic Forms:

o   redirection/misdirection/opacity

o   moving planes and curvilinearity

o   the audacities of improvisation

o   the vulnerabilities of co-creation


Submissions Due: September 1, 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)
    • 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 an open-access journal, which means that all content is freely available without charge to readers or their institutions.

·      Our Editorial Board, Associate Editors, Advisory Board and Mission Statement


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.