Consulting the works of Black women’s speculative fiction to pursue questions about our geopolitical past, present and possible futures seems intuitive. After all, speculative fiction has always been a thinly veiled strategy for examining broader issues of the human condition and its environment. This issue will be devoted to contemporary Black women authors who are pushing the boundaries of speculative fiction by re-imagining the intertwined complexities race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status as solutions rather than mere distractions from the allegedly more “important” crises facing our planet.
One of the thematic threads linking the otherwise very diverse works of contemporary Black women speculative fiction writers is a rejection of a “top down” analysis. Instead, they present the reader with shifting realities, irreconcilable differences, and an emphasis on finding solutions through horizontal, rather than vertical, approaches—that is, finding and working towards solutions alongside peers rather than under the leadership of a designated individual or elite group. These thematic approaches are matched by a narrative approach that dissolves distinctions between protagonist and antagonist, subjects and objects, and even rejects the traditional plotting (beginning, climax, denouement) of more conventional narratives.
We are seeking brief essays (max 3000 words) and extended scholarly articles (max 5000 words, for peer review) on contemporary (i.e., postwar to present day) Black women’s speculative fiction as a site for theorizing our current geopolitical moments, whether that be on the post- human, Black and African women’s diasporas, Black femme agency, trans rights, the Anthropocene, Black precarity, and/or a host of directly related issues. We are especially interested in work on authors whose work has received little academic attention (N.K. Jemisin, Helen Oyeyemi, Nuzo Onoh, Andrea Hairston, Nnedi Okafor) despite their popular appeal.
Because TBS strives for a public, Black/Africana Studies and interdisciplinary space of intellectual exchange, we discourage too-highly specialized or professional language and encourage open, argumentative work that is well written. Strive for an essayistic tone and target your submission to an engaged, educated, but truly interdisciplinary general audience.
Language that fetishizes itself and the author’s primary academic micro-community may not pass muster. It is also important that authors resist the clichés that have emerged in contemporary Black cultural criticism and political ideology. For example, work that merely depends on the oppression/resistance binary, or that generates laudatory but uncritical and romantic celebrations of ideas like radicalism or blackness but does nothing to ground those ideas in material examples or more contradictory realities, also may not pass muster. There is much more to Black intellectual and cultural production than such gestures, and TBS insists on going beyond even the limits Black thinkers may put on themselves.
Submission guidelines can be found here. To avoid your submission being sent back to you or rejected, please adhere to the formatting requirements and pay special attention to our guidelines about the use of copyrighted third-party material and ensure permissions are secured prior to submission and included with your submission file. Maximum allowable word counts are inclusive of endnotes and images. Articles must be in Word format and submitted to our Submission Portal. We do not accept submissions via email. To submit articles, please use the “Submit an article” tab here.
All full-manuscript submissions due by May 15th, 2023. The issue (54.2) is slated for publication April/May 2024.
Guest editors are Susana M. Morris and Michelle M. Wright. For questions re: the issue topic, please email:
Prof Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Wright at email@example.com
For questions re: submission guidelines and other technical information, please contact the journal’s managing editor at firstname.lastname@example.org