Call for Submissions: White Lies Matter

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Call for Papers
May 26, 2020 to September 1, 2020
Ohio, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, American History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies, Law and Legal History

Type: Call for Publications (Book Chapters)

Title: White Lies Matter: Truth, Race, and Power in America

Location: Ohio, United States

Subject Fields: History, Education, Sociology, Women’s & Gender History, Modern History and Period Studies, African American History, American History/Studies, Military History, Medical History, Anthropology, Atlantic History/Studies, Health and Healthcare, Human Rights, Intellectual History, Oral History, Public History, Race, Social History, Whiteness Studies, Urban History


White Lies Matter: Truth, Race, and Power in America

  • We are pleased to invite chapters for an upcoming book project entitled, White Lies Matter: Truth, Race, and Power in America
  • The fabrication of a crime—particularly charges by white perpetrators against black victims—and subsequent legal, extralegal (and excusable) retribution against the victim, is a socio-cultural phenomenon in America that extends to the days of early Republic.  This project confronts directly the baseless accusations, false testimonies, manipulation of the law, and tacit acceptance of and agreement by so-called innocent bystanders, that have all been effective tools in depriving blacks a myriad of resources, opportunities, property, and even their lives.
  • Historical charges of “reckless eyeballing” in the nineteenth century and threats of “outrage” against white women in the mid-twentieth century, have been replaced in the twenty-first with groundless accusations of the supposed criminal behavior and intent of blacks often just living their everyday lives.  Rather than treat those instances as disparate, however, this project seeks to uncover how and why lies—from the improbable to the impossible—became an acceptable method of controlling social relationships based on race.
  • Using a lie/lies/lying as the starting point, the project will focus on the “culture of untruth” that has historically surrounded the lived experiences of blacks in America.  White Lies Matter is also concerned with the paradoxical role of the media—from turn-of-the-century periodicals and mid-twentieth century radio broadcasts, to contemporary social media platforms—in its transition from incendiary town crier to unlikely defender.  Thus, mainstream and alternative media alike are fertile grounds for exploring the ways in which outside forces have shaped the historical abuses suffered by black Americans, and contributed to the widespread normalization of violence against them.  Interested authors are invited to submit proposals for original essays in any era of American history that speak to a general audience.  Submissions from authors at all career stages—including graduate students, tenured faculty members, and independent scholars--are welcome.  
  • Finally, this project is concerned with understanding the legacy of lying in America with regards to relationships where race, power, and punishment collide.  Would Susan Smith have accused a black man of jumping into her vehicle and driving away with her two children in 1994 had she not understood the social reality of race-baiting as an effective means of shifting blame?  Would ‘Karen in the Park’ have faked the fear and anxiety in her voice in a 911 call after smugly threatening a black birdwatcher with police action if she hadn’t understood doing so might intimidate the birdwatcher at best, or lead to the loss of his life at worst?  How do we understand, characterize, and dismantle cultures of untruth in American history?  How do we begin to recondition the nation and its citizenry to recognize and prioritize the essence of truth over flawed concepts of race in our efforts to address systemic inequities in our society?  Contributors are encouraged to respond directly to these questions or pose novel queries of their own.



Please send a one page PDF summary of your proposed book chapter that addresses the theme(s) detailed above.  Please also include the potential chapter title and affiliation(s)/degree(s) of the author(s).

After notification of acceptance of summaries, final submissions should be approximately fifteen (15) pages (double-spaced), and must adhere to the formatting guidelines set forth by the press.



Submission deadline for summaries: September 1, 2020

Notification of acceptance of summaries: October 1, 2020

Submission deadline for full book chapters: December 1, 2020

Final submission of revised book chapters: February 1, 2021

Propose Publication Date: Spring 2022

Proposal and submissions should be emailed to the Main Editor, Holly Y. McGee, at

Contact Info: 

Holly Y. McGee
Associate Professor
Department of History
University of Cincinnati
2700 Campus Way
360 McMicken Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45221


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