CFP — Backdrops No More: Alternative Visions of Black Girlhood in Afrofuturistic Literature

“Potential” by Adaia Washington

2020 College Language Association (CLA) Convention * April 1-4, 2020 * Hilton Memphis

In 1970, Toni Morrison published The Bluest Eye, which prominently features black female children and adolescents, who she considered to be the “most vulnerable, most undescribed, not taken seriously” characters in literature. Since that time, many authors have paid increased attention to black girls in their works; yet, a great deal of these children and adolescents still commonly exist as backstory or props for more centralized adult characters. However, as Afrofuturism offers broadened representations of and opportunities for African Americans in literature, the genre can also extend fundamental freedoms and alternative realities to black girl characters.

Therefore, this panel welcomes papers on black girls’ presence in speculative fiction, particularly how they adapt to, confront, challenge, or resist conventional perceptions of black girlhood. Submissions must address the 2020 CLA Convention theme, “Afrofuturism: Diasporic Visions,” and consider how black girls in Afrofuturistic works claim their histories, stories, and futures, and more broadly, how they contribute to “alternative futures for African-descended peoples in narratives designed or imagined by Black thinkers.” By September 8, 2019, please submit a 250-word abstract, brief bio, and any A/V requirements to Sondra Bickham Washington through the “Contact” section of this website. This panel is proposed in conjunction with the Black Girlhood Project effort to connect scholars working in the emerging field of black girlhood studies.

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