Call for Papers: #AAIHS2025–10th Anniversary Conference

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains, Greene County, Ga, in 1941. (Jack Delano, FSA-OWI Collection, Library of Congress)


10th Anniversary Conference
March 14-15, 2025
Providence, Rhode Island
Conference Theme:

Slavery and Its Afterlives

Submission Deadline: September 6, 2024

In Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (2008), historian and literary scholar Saidiya Hartman describes her personal quest to “reckon with the lives undone and obliterated in the making of human commodities.” She continues, “​​If slavery persists as an issue in the political life of black America, it is not because of an antiquarian obsession with bygone days or the burden of a too-long memory, but because black lives are still imperiled and devalued by a racial calculus and a political arithmetic that were entrenched centuries ago.” This, Hartman explains, “is the afterlife of slavery—skewed life chances, limited access to health and education, premature death, incarceration, and impoverishment.”

Since the publication of Hartman’s groundbreaking memoir, the phrase “afterlife of slavery” has been deployed across the Humanities to underscore the significant connection between periods before and after slavery. For its tenth anniversary annual conference, the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) invites individual and panel proposals that grapple with the history of slavery and its afterlives in the United States and throughout the broader African diaspora. Ongoing social, political, and cultural developments demand continued preservation, dissemination, and engagement with the experiences and ideas of African Americans and others across the African diaspora.

By grappling with the theme of “Slavery and Its Afterlives,” AAIHS encourages conference participants to reflect on how histories of African and African-descended peoples from slavery to the present continue to shape and haunt our present and futures in familiar and new ways. We hope this invitation prompts scholars, activists, artists, and other intellectuals to interrogate notions of change, continuity, and progress, all key elements of historical inquiry.

AAIHS welcomes individual and panel proposals for short presentations (12-15 minutes) that consider the conference theme as linked to a variety of perspectives, including, but not limited to, gender, sexuality, public policy, indigeneity, politics, and class. We welcome submissions that explore the conference theme in art and popular culture and in literature. Papers that explore the global historical context and international dimensions of the theme are encouraged. We also invite panels with capacious temporal engagement.

All panel sessions will run for 75 minutes with at least 15 minutes devoted to audience participation. All paper proposals should include a title and an abstract of approximately 300 words. The proposal should clearly explain the paper’s argument; methods and methodologies; interventions; and engagement with the conference theme. Submissions should also include a short CV (1-2 pages in length), highlighting previous publications and presentations, if applicable. Full panel proposals should include all the above information for each individual panelist as well as an overall abstract (less than 300 words) articulating the key questions and themes of the papers collectively and how the totality of the papers relate to the conference theme. We strongly encourage experimental formats, workshops, art displays, film screenings, roundtables, musical performances, and any other presentations beyond traditional academic papers and panels.

Proposals will be considered for inclusion in one of the featured conference sessions, which will be held in-person from March 14 to March 15, 2025 at the historic Graduate Hotel near Brown University in Providence, RI. A select number of travel grants are available by application only for graduate students, contingent faculty, independent scholars, and junior scholars. AAIHS invites scholars at various ranks and affiliations (from graduate students to senior faculty and independent scholars) to submit proposals for consideration. The best papers selected from conference proceedings will be considered for inclusion in a special issue of Global Black Thought, the official journal of AAIHS.

Conference Committee:

  • Chair: Shaun Armstead, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Keisha N. Blain, Brown University
  • Mickell Carter, Brown University
  • Alycia Hall, University of British Columbia
  • Jeannette Eileen Jones, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Joseph Williams, Lehigh University

**To submit a proposal, please visit us here. To communicate with the conference committee or obtain more information, contact us.

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