African American Intellectual History Society’s Third Annual Conference
March 30-31, 2018, Brandeis University

Theme: Black Thought Matters


Activists, scholars, and artists have vociferously declared across multiple media and social platforms that Black Lives Matter, making everyday racial violence against Black subjects more publicly visible in recent years. Yet far from being accepted as a rational response to the expendability of Black life, this prodigious demonstration of critical Black Thought is often met with hostility, censorship, and death threats or denigrated within current popular and political arenas. This year’s AAIHS conference asserts that Black Thought Matters. What, for example, are the tasks and challenges for critical Black Thought in times of heightened racial violence? How have Black performers, scholars, public figures, and subaltern subjects historically confronted efforts to curtail and contain the scope of Black critical analysis? How might we historicize and theorize the relationship between Black Lives, Black Thought, and Black Action across time and space?

Potential topics for this year’s conference include, but are not limited to: race and political thought; women’s studies; queer studies; slavery and freedom; sexuality; resistance movements; performance and embodied practice; surveillance studies; Black internationalism; popular culture; and religion.

The AAIHS welcomes proposals from scholars at all career stages and affiliations (from graduate students to senior faculty and independent scholars). We seek submissions for scholarly papers (20-minute presentations), organized panels of three or four papers, poster sessions, lecture-demonstrations, film screenings, or workshops. We will accept individual paper submissions, but will give preference to full panel proposals. Proposals should be submitted via email ( as a Microsoft Word attachment no later than November 15, 2017.

Individual proposals should include: an abstract of no more than 250 words and an abridged C.V. (1-2 pages). They must include the author’s full name, institutional affiliation, phone number, email address, proposed format (paper, poster, etc.), and A/V equipment needs.

Complete panel proposals should include: (1) a panel abstract and title (2) a 250-word abstract for each paper (3) names, contact information, institutional affiliation, and an abridged C.V. for each presenter (4) names and contact information for the panel chair and commentator (5) format of the presentation (paper, panel, poster, workshop, etc.) and A/V equipment requirements.

The AAIHS is pleased to offer multiple competitive travel grants to defray the costs of conference attendance. Graduate students and contingent faculty in good-standing as members of the AAIHS are encouraged to apply. Graduate students whose papers are accepted are also invited to submit their paper for consideration for the AAIHS’s annual Du Bois-Wells Paper Prize competition. The winner and first runner-up will receive cash prizes. Further details regarding the travel grants and paper prize are available at

Conference Planning Committee:

  • Gregory Childs (Brandeis University), chair
  • Ashley D. Farmer (Boston University), co-chair
  • Yesenia Barragan (Dartmouth College)
  • Garrett Felber (Harvard University)
  • Christopher Shell (Michigan State University)

**Download a PDF version of the Call for Papers here.

**Before submitting your proposal, please carefully read Chris Cameron’s “Tips for Writing Successful AAIHS Conference Proposals.”