The New Black Public Sphere

Eric R. Jackson's picture
Call for Papers
January 31, 2021 to March 31, 2021
Kentucky, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, African History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies

Call for Papers


The New Black Public Sphere


The New Black Public Sphere anthology continues the groundbreaking work begun by the Black Public Sphere Collective in 1993. Defined by the Black Public Sphere Collective, [1]“… the black public sphere is one critical space where new democratic forms and emergent diasporic movements can enrich and question one another” (The Black Public Sphere: A Public Culture Book, p.1), this convergence of theory and community activism traces its genesis to two conferences presented in 1993. In The Black Public Sphere, resistance to the hierarchies inherent in elitist definitions and forms of political power take place in neighborhood organizing, collaborative creation, and collective political action. Community gardens, public libraries, public schools and learning communities, systems of nonmonetary exchange, creative arts and the sharing of vital resources are just a few examples of this social sphere’s location and activities. There have always been non-institutional sites for discourse and political education: barber and beauty shops, small businesses, and grandparents that teach as living examples. Art plays a role through spontaneous, vernacular forms of public expression: street and yard shrines, graffiti, car, skateboard, and bicycle decoration in exhibitions that are accessible to all regardless of formal education, living situation or income. In this era, locations for the Black Public Sphere have grown to include storefront venues, community centers, Black owned businesses, communal urban farms, informal galleries, music sharing, digital collaboration, and the internet in the form of blogs, chat rooms, websites, and other forms of social media.


Situated in Black neighborhoods are scholars and artists who preserve community memory, share oral histories, provide advice regarding politics and life, and most importantly, promote visions of agency and hope for the future. In an age when participation in democratic processes and legislative bodies have been made unavailable for many Black people, the information provided by person to person discourse, community events, and online represent on-going education, significant contributions to community empowerment, and a stimulus for political / civic participation. During this time of governmental chaos, injustice, and aggressive racial profiling, the identification and restoration of an active Black Public Sphere can serve as tool for organization, participation, and wellbeing in the Black community.









Abstract Details:


When preparing your abstract, consider the most important characteristics of the Black Public Sphere theory:


  • The Black Public Sphere theory focuses upon the education, empowerment, and active agency of Black people as a counter balance to hegemonic political institutions and systems
  • The Black Public Sphere operates as a tool for political discourse and social organizing with an intention to enhance civic participation
  • The Black Public Sphere is located in Black neighborhoods or sites where Black people gather
  • Black Public Sphere access does not require monetary exchange


Submissions should be related to the Black Public Sphere Theory in regards to function, location, Black agency, and political organizing.


Although not limited to this list, sample areas of consideration include:


Religious Institutions


Gender equity

Social Media

Barbershops and Beauty Shops


The Internet

Voting Rights

LGBTQ rights


Black Colleges

Black Entrepreneurship


Theater / Performance / Ritual

The Global Black Public Sphere


Publishing Language:


The publishing language of The New Black Public Sphere will be English. However, contributions in languages other than English are acceptable when also presented in English.


Submission details:


Please submit an initial abstract (no longer than two paragraphs) which includes: a narrative in which you identify the connection between your theme and the Black Public Sphere theory; the question(s) you will be pursuing; how you will approach this research; and any conclusions.

Your abstract must be addressed to the two editors of this anthology: Dr. Eric R. Jackson ( and Dr. Stephanie Anne Johnson (

Please include a cover letter stating: your name, current public, professional or institutional affiliation, location, e-mail address, the title of your contribution, the originality of your contribution, that your contribution is not under consideration anywhere, and that you wish to publish in The New Black Public Sphere.


Once accepted, contributors must submit their contribution to the editors in MS Word in a Times New Roman typeface with 12-point font via an attachment in e-mail. Once accepted, the entire work should not exceed 20 double-spaced pages with a concise title, abstract, and current standard citations and references. Within the contribution, do not include page numbers or the title of your contribution on each page; all graphics (charts, tables, photos, etc. will be examined for permission, and ability to be included within the book’s format; only use endnotes in your contribution (not footnotes), a list of references are needed for each contribution, and in regards to style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.), use the style most relevant to your standard area of research. 



Dates and deadlines:

Please send your abstract by or before January 31, 2020 to:

Dr. Eric R. Jackson (

Dr. Stephanie Anne Johnson (

The acceptance of abstracts will be approved by or before March 31, 2021. Full papers will be due by or before May 1, 2021.


[1] The Black Public Sphere Collective, Eds.  (1995).  The Black Public Sphere: A Public Culture Book. Chicago: The Chicago University Press.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Eric R. Jackson

Dr. Stephanie Johnson

Contact Email: