Call for Papers: Representations of Black Motherhood and Photography

Zoraida Lopez-Diago and  Lesly Deschler Canossi's picture
Call for Papers
September 16, 2019
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Black History / Studies, Fine Arts, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Women Picturing Revolution is pleased to announce a call for papers on the topic of Representations of Black Motherhood and Photography.

The forthcoming book published by Leuven University Press and distributed by Cornell University, Representations of Black Motherhood and Photography, will curate both essays and photographs on Black motherhood.  Contemporary books on motherhood and photography often lack attention paid to Black mothers. When the topic of Black motherhood is examined in academic scholarship, it often does not address a crucial missing component - visual representation and analysis of the Black mother in pictures.  This edited collection gives voice to the intersection of photography, Black motherhood and the ways in which Black mothers have navigated gender, race, and class.  

Photography is the overriding language of visual literacy and global communication. And images, now more than ever, serve as the way in which meanings are created and transmitted. In our visually-saturated age, how is it possible that this gap exists? Why does it exist? What are the implications of this void? What role, if any, does social media play as tools for survival and protection? How are Black mothers using self-portraiture to re-write the self? 

By widening the lens of motherhood to include work made about and made by Black women and mothers while simultaneously examining the interlocking systems of race, gender and class, Representations of Black Motherhood and Photography disrupts overriding narratives of Black mothers in our social discourse, and creates space for this important junction to occupy this terrain.

We invite essays on, yet not limited to, the following topics:

  • Archetypes of Black motherhood in pictures

  • Photography for or made by Black mothers

  • Rewriting the self: self-portraiture through photography

  • Visually speaking: Black mothers as artists 

  • Documenting the relationship between Black mothers and family life

  • The role of photo album in family archives 

  • Queer Black motherhood

  • Black motherhood collectives

  • Black motherhood, everyday protest

  • Raising Black children in America

  • Black motherhood and pop culture

  • Black motherhood, digital photographic collections, and communities: formulating, participating and social tagging

  • Social Media as tools for survival and protection

  • Everyday image: memory, place and everyday life

  • Photo Diary/Social Media/Photostreams as narratives

  • Meaning of freedom

  • Consuming photographic images of Black mothers

  • Historical memory/trauma 

  • Histories of state violence

  • Legacies of slavery 

  • Lost mother: the impact of incarcerated Black mothers

  • Relationships between Black motherhood, maternal mortality,  medicine, and justice

  • Black mothers and sexual agency

  • Black mothers, breastfeeding and public spaces 

  • Black mothers and self-care


Submission Guidelines: Submissions are due Monday, September 16th, 2019.  Proposals should be sent as a PDF to and should include a 250-300 word abstract, title, author's name, address, telephone number, email address and affiliation. Please include a 200 word biographical statement and a full CV.

While the editors will make a curated selection of photographic images based as a response from the call to papers, authors who incorporate an analysis of photography as part of the work are highly encouraged to submit.  

We will confirm the receipt of proposals. Acceptance announcements will be emailed in two weeks after the submission deadline. For questions please contact or visit www.womenpicturingrevolution for more information. 


Contact Info: 

Zoraida Lopez-Diago and Lesly Deschler Canossi