The Significant Past, Present, and Future of HBCU in a Globalizing World

Sabella Abidde's picture
Call for Papers
August 30, 2020
Alabama, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, American History / Studies, Black History / Studies, African History / Studies, Contemporary History

Call for Book Chapters

The Significant Past, Present, and Future of HBCU in a Globalizing World

Editors: Alem Hailu, Ph.D., Mohamed Camara, Ph.D., and Sabella Abidde, PhD


Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Futurewere established to provide educational opportunities for higher education to people of African descent in the era of segregation. The visions, values, and heritages the schools embodied, however, enabled them to chart new frontiers of learning, scholarship, and public engagement for The United States, Africa, and the World as a whole. From the early days of their inception, HBCUs challenged the tradition of social class and academic exclusiveness that had characterized higher education for centuries. Often underappreciated or even criticized for their practice of open enrollment and flexible academic precepts, they have, nonetheless, been pioneers in extending opportunities to underprivileged or excluded members of the community representing all races, ethnic and gender groups.


The record of HBCUs indicates how this tradition, far from lowering academic standards, laid an effective educational infrastructure that enabled them to produce citizens that assumed leadership positions in government, higher education, law, medicine, science and technology, and the financial sector. Furthermore, the wider global role they play as agents of change is illustrated by their direct and indirect influence on global movements that challenged racism, slavery, fascism, totalitarianism, colonialism, and apartheid. The immense contribution of HBCUs goes far beyond the spatial frontiers of the United States. These outstanding institutions have not just played significant roles in training and educating students representing the vast regions of the world from the Caribbean to Africa and Latin America to Asia and Europe; through their distinct public engagement and partnership models, they have been at the vanguard of global transformations. Against all odds and constraints, they continue to play the extraordinary role of “punching above their weight.”


As we segue into the second decade of the twenty-first century, individually and collectively, HBCU faces enormous challenges such as declining enrollment and retention, a dismal on-time graduation rate, rising college costs, student loan predicament, and the seldomly discussed leadership crisis. Into this mix is the effort by predominantly white institutions (PWI) attracting black students to enhance enrollment and diversity. Ironically, many black students no longer see the need to remain in the black educational orbit and are therefore intentionally forsaking HBCU for PWI. Under these conditions, would the HBCU survive and prosper? But more importantly, would they continue to be relevant in an increasingly interconnected and interrelated world? What new strategies are needed to retain their significance, singularity, and utility?


The questions are almost infinite. It is for these reasons that we invite scholars and public intellectuals to submit abstracts that address some of the issues we have raised or address some of the suggested topics that are listed below.  Prospective contributors may also suggest and write on topics that are not listed if the said topic falls within the overall theme of this project: 

  • The rich and consequential heritage of HBCUs
  • The Influence and Impact of HBCUs on the United States and the World
  • HBCUs in modern Africa
  • Contributions of the HBCUs to Higher Education and Global change
  • HBCUs, International Relations and Movements in the African World
  • Enduring and Evolving Roles of HBCUs in Confronting Slavery, Colonialism and Racism
  • Strategic Issues HBCUs face in the Era of Global Pandemics, the Information Revolution and Socio-economic Upheavals
  • HBCUs and Paradigm Shifts in Politics, Society, and the Economy
  • The economic contribution of HBCUs to local communities
  • Case Studies of HBCUs and their impact on North America and the World
  • HBCUs and their contribution to the decolonization of Africa
  • Landmark court cases influenced by the HBCUs
  • The attractiveness of HBCUs to the White and Latino communities
  • HBCUs and their contribution to the Civil Rights Movement
  • HBCU alumni in the United Nations and Intergovernmental Organizations

HBCUs and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

  • HBCUs and their impact on states and societies in Latin America
  • HBCU and notable personalities in law, science, medicine, and technology
  • HBCUs and their contributions to the US war effort (i.e. WW 11)
  • HBCUs and their impact on states and societies in the Caribbean
  • The changing dynamics of HBCU campus culture
  • Howard University: Education, activism, and black consciousness
  • The prospects and challenges of HBCUs in the twentieth century
  • HBCU alumni in the US Foreign Service
  • HBCUs and the declining enrollment of students
  • Administration: The death of diversity and inclusion


Submission Procedure

  1. Please submit a 300-350-word abstract clearly outlining the leading ideas, insights, and anticipated research findings by 15 August 2020. Your 1-2-page CV is also required.
  2. You will be notified of acceptance or rejection of your abstract by 30 August 2020. Authors whose abstracts are accepted will be sent guidelines for completing their chapters.
  3. Each chapter is set for a maximum of 30-double-spaced pages (including the notes, table, figures, and references). Completed chapters are due no later than 15 December 2020
  4. Send your abstracts/inquiries to Prof. Alem Hailu ( and please cc Prof. Mohamed Camara ( and Prof. Sabella Abidde (

About the Editors:

Alem Hailu obtained holds a Ph.D. in Social Science and an MA in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He has worked in various institutions and engaged in development and public policy, and human security initiatives in the Global South. Professor Hailu’s research interests include public policy, sustainability and development, African in a globalizing world, and the political economy of nations in transition. He is a member of the African Studies Association.


Mohamed S. Camara is Professor and Chair of the African Studies program at Howard University. He holds a Ph.D. (1996) and an MA (1991) in history from Northwestern University, Illinois. He was, for many years, a Professor of International Affairs, History, and Communication at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida. He is the author, co-author, editor, and co-editor of several peer-reviewed publications. Professor Camara is a member of the African Studies Association.


Sabella O. Abidde is a Professor of Political Science at Alabama State University. He holds a Ph.D. in African Studies from Howard (2009), and an MA in political science from Minnesota State University. He is an interdisciplinary scholar with research and publication interest in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa-China-Taiwan Relations. He is the author and editor of several publications. An upcoming book on Migrants, Refugees, and the Internally Displaced will be released in fall 2020 by Springer.

Contact Info: 

Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

Department of History and Political Science

Alabama State University

Contact Email: