Deadline: March 1, 2020

Guest Co-editor: Christen Smith

In this issue, we explore the contributions of Black women scholars to the field of anthropology and beyond. Thinking through our critical traditions, we ask, what scholarship looks like when it foregrounds the thinking of those scholars who have historically been excluded from anthropology’s central conversations? How do Black women’s voices, in all of their diversity (trans, cis queer and non-queer) reshape our modes of theorizing, analyzing, and describing the worlds that anthropologists engage, both past and present? By centering the scholarly innovations of Black women, Feminist Anthropology seeks to challenge citational practices that have silenced, and appropriated the intellectual labors of Black women. Heeding the call of anthropologist Christen Smith who coined the #CiteBlackWomen hashtag in 2017, this issue engages Black women scholars who have been at the heart of the anthropological endeavor, and introduces new generations of anthropologists to the discipline through a lens that reexamines the center from its margins.

We recognize that to discuss Black women primarily is not to exclude or ignore other voices, but to address the need to amplify unique experiences and histories carefully and without equivocation. We note the words of the Combahee River Collective: “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free, since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all systems of oppression.” To pay special attention to Black women is also to attend to the needs of all of us. As Christen Smith writes, “We must undo the toxic politics of erasing women’s voices across our society, especially in the academy. How can we rethink anthropology’s approach to theory, methodology, and pedagogy so that women of color are not faceless and voiceless? This includes other marginalized populations who have equally been erased from anthropological theory, like indigenous and non-white scholars from the global South.”

The journal seeks original submissions across all fields of anthropology that speak to the generous plenitudes of Black women’s scholarly interventions. Archaeologists, linguists, cultural anthropologists and biological anthropologists might ask:

  • How have Black women scholars and marginalized scholars sustained transnational scholarly conversations and how have these discourses and interventions evolved in time (Combahee River Collective; Faye V. Harrison, Chandra Talpade Mohanty; Christen Smith)?
  • What happens to intersectionality (Kimberlé Crenshaw) and Black Feminist theorizing when it is mobilized for anthropological analysis across the fields (Moya Bailey; A. Lynn Bolles; Whitney Battle-Baptiste)?
  • Where does abolitionist and fugitive scholarship lead us in examining the histories, presents and futures of institutions (Maya Berry et al; Brit Rusert; Savannah Shange)?
  • What does anthropological ‘wake work’ look like (Christina Sharpe) in ethnography, language, archive, biology, and the material record? 
  • How has language interacted with cultural, biological and material practices to reproduce and resist racial, ethnic, and gendered politics (Jonathan Rosa; Ana Celia Zentella)?
  • How have Black and indigenous scholars challenged anthropology’s approach to voicing kinship, maternity, girlhoods, and households (Cathy Cohen; Aimee Meredith Cox; Saidiya Hartman; Leith Mullings; Hortense Spillers; Mishauna Goeman)?
  • What does the anthropology of religion have to gain from the centering of performance, movement and embodiment (N. Fadeke Castor; Zora Neale Hurston)?
  • How do Black women scholars engage post-humanism; human-plant and human-animal relations; ecological thinking; and the anthropocene (Vanessa Agard-Jones; Octavia Butler; Fatimah Jackson et al.)? 
  • How do scholarly understandings of technology benefit from the interventions of scholars who center race, gender, sexuality and class (Ruha Benjamin; Alondra Nelson; Safiya Noble; Laura Wilkie)?
  • How have Black women scholars brought attention to the tyrannies and potentialities of health and healthcare interventions as the work of kinship, development, and empire (Adia Benton; Deirdre Cooper Owen; Faye Harrison)?
  • What methods have Black women scholars innovated, and how do these methodologies benefit the discipline (Dána-Ain Davis; Irma McLaurin)?
  • How have feminist anthropologists grappled with citing sovereignty, queerness, and nationalisms, rethinking the politics of belonging (Audra Simpson; SA Smythe; Deborah Thomas)?

We invite submissions that substantively engage Black women’s scholarly contributions and demonstrate their impact on anthropology, and demonstrate how these intellectual interventions “sustain, remix and innovate a lively and heterogeneous set of scholarly traditions,” (Davis and Mulla 2020) towards a richer, more insightful, undisciplined and/or inter-disciplined anthropology. Co-authored and dual lingual pieces are encouraged. If you are interested in submitting a dual lingual manuscript, please contact the editors for more instruction ([email protected] and [email protected]). Manuscripts can be submitted via the journal’s ScholarOne site in all submission categories. Please consult the author guidelines for further details. For full consideration to be included in the themed issue, please submit manuscripts by March 1, 2020.  

Works Cited

Vanessa Agard-Jones. 2012. “What the Sands Remember,” GLQ 18(2 –3): 325-346.

Moya Bailey. 2010. “They Aren’t Talking About Me….” The Crunk Feminist Collective.

Whitney Battle-Baptiste. 2011. Black Feminist Archaeology. New York and London: Routledge University Press.

Ruha Benjamin. 2019. Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Adia Benton. 2015. HIV Exceptionalism: Development through Disease in Sierra Leone. Minneapolis and St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press.

Maya Berry, Claudia Chávez Argüelles, Shanya Cordis, Sarah Ihmoud, Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada. 2017. “Toward a Fugitive Anthropology: gender, Race and Violence in the Field,” Cultural Anthropology. 32(4): 537-565.

A. Lynne Bolles. 2001. “Seeking the Ancestors: Forging a Black Feminist Tradition in Anthropology,” in Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory, Praxis, Poetics, and Politics. I. McClaurin, ed. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 24-48.

Octavia Butler. 1979. Kindred. New York: Doubleday.

N. Fadeke Castor. 2017. Spiritual Citizenship: Transnational Pathways from Black Power to Ifá in Trinidad. Durham and London: Duke University Press. 

Cathy Cohen. 1997. “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics,” GLQ 3(4): 437-465. 

Combahee River Collective. 1977. “The Combahee River Collective Statement.” 

Deirdre Cooper Owens. 2017. Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology.  Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press.         

Aimee Meredith Cox. 2015. Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

 Kimberlé Crenshaw. 1989. “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum, 139-167.

Dána-Ain Davis. 2013. “Border Crossings: Intimacy and Feminist Activist Ethnography in the Age of Neoliberalism,” in D. Davis and C. Craven eds. Feminist Activist Ethnography: Counterpoints to Neoliberalism. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 

Dána-Ain Davis and Sameena Mulla. 2020. “Feminist Epistemology and Methodology,” in C. McCallum, M. Fotta, S. Possoco eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mishauna Goeman. 2013. Mark My Words: Native Women Mapping Our Nations. Minneapolis and St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press.

Faye V. Harrison. 1997. Decolonizing Anthropology: Moving Further Towards an Anthropology of Liberation. Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association.

Faye V. Harrison. 1994. “Racial and Gender Inequalities in Health and Health Care,” Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 8(1): 90-95.

Saidiya Hartman. 2007. Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Zora Neale Hurston. 1938 (2009). Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica. New York: Harper.

Fatimah Jackson, Earl Bloch, Robert Jackson, James Chandler, Yong Kim and Floyd Malveaux. 1985. “Influence of Dietary Cyanide on Immunoglobin and Thiocyanate Levels in the Serum of Liberian Adults,” Journal of the National Medical Association. 77(10): 777-782.

Irma McLaurin. 2001. Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory, Praxis, Poetics, and Politics. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Chandra Talpade Mohanty. 2003. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Leith Mullings. 1997. On Our Own Terms: Race, Class and Gender in the Lives of African American Women. New York: Routledge.

Alondra Nelson. 2016. The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reconciliation and Reparations After the Genome. Boston: Beacon Press.

Safiya Noble. 2018. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York: New York University Press.

Jonathan Rosa. 2019. Looking Like a Language, Sounding Like a Race: Raciolinguistic Ideologies and the Learning of Latinidad. Oxford University Press.

Britt Rusert. 2017. Fugitive Science: Empiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture. New York and London: New York University Press. 

Savannah Shange. 2018. Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, and Schooling in San Francisco. Durham and London: Duke University Press. 

Christina Sharpe. 2016. In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Audra Simpson. 2014. Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Christen Smith. Afroparadise: Blackness, Violence and Performance in Brazil. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.  

SA Smythe. 2018. “The Black Mediterranean and the Politics of Imagination,” Middle East Report. 286: 3-9.

Hortense Spillers. 1987. “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” Diacritics. 17(2): 64-81.

Deborah Thomas. 2019. Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation: Sovereignty, Witnessing, Repair. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Laura Wilkie. 2003. The Archaeology of Mothering: An African-American Midwife’s Tale. New York and London: Routledge.

Ana Celia Zentella. 1997. Growing up Bilingual: Puerto Rican Children in New York. New York and London: Blackwell.

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