CFP: The creative power of margins: the rise of black, native, and mixed-race intellectuals in the Americas, 19th-20th centuries

Laura Martin Agudelo's picture
Call for Publications
October 15, 2019
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, Intellectual History, Oral History, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Race Studies

African American historians of the 19th and early 20th centuries were located at the margins of their society, of scholarly institutions and of book trade networks. To a certain extent, these adverse conditions led them to search for new sources—thus they used oral history well before their white counterparts did—and imagine pioneering ways to break into print. To get their work (slave narratives, essays, novels) printed and circulated, they resorted to various means, such as self-publishing, subscription publishing, marketing and sale of the printed work by the author. The creative power at work in the margins was amply demonstrated in the 3-year granted project entitled “Writing History from the Margins: The Case of African Americans” (

The first phase of the project has ended, and we would now like to look beyond the United States, for a special issue of the open access online journal IdeAs. Idées d’Amériques ( The issue means to examine the emergence of native, black, and mixed-race intellectuals in the Americas, looking at different countries and their specificities, while exploring issues of genre, and processes of creation and publication of works of fiction or nonfiction.

Comparison between the diverse experiences of the Americas (North and South America) should provide further examples of the creative power at work in the margins. The panel theme can be approached from several angles: 

  • Which circumstances—social, political, economic—allow for the emergence of a native, black, or mixed-race voice in white-dominated societies? 
  • How can we explain the rise of a black, native, or mixed-race intellectual and artistic elite in some countries and not others? 
  • In what ways has the marginal position of native, black and mixed-race intellectuals forced them to innovate in terms of methods, aesthetics, sources and approaches? 
  • Should we go beyond the very notions of “center” and “margins”?

The authors should send in abstracts of 500 words maximum and a short biographical notice by October 15, 2019 to:

Vetting process

  • The authors should send in abstracts by October 15, 2019
  • The co-editors will answer by November 4, 2019
  • Final pre-selected papers will be sent by March 1, 2020
  • Final publication online, after the peer-reviewing process and revisions: October 2020

*Double blind peer review procedure.

*All submissions must be previously unpublished in any form, either print or web, or in any other language; nor must they have been sent simultaneously for consideration to any other journal. Authors agree to cede copyright to IdeAs for electronic reproduction and authorize online publication. If a translation is necessary, it will be carried out after acceptance of the original by IdeAs and under IdeAs supervision.

*Articles must not exceed 45 000 signs (including footnotes, bibliography and spaces) and must abide by the journal's editorial rules (

*Languages: English, French, Spanish or Portuguese.

Contact Info: 

Rafaëlle Gandini Miletto

Charlotte Le Merdy

+ 33 (0) 1 71 22 99 80

Editorial Secretary - IdeAs (journal of the Institute of the Americas, France)