In honor of The Black Scholar’s 50th Anniversary and inspired by the enthusiastic reception of “Race, Pornography, and Desire: A TBS Roundtable,” (2016) we seek work that explores the limits of race, sexuality, and radical pleasure. This can include work at the intersections of blackness, BDSM [bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism], pornography, fetishism, and kink. Black peoples’ involvement in such practices and industries is not only historically established, but is alive and well and growing in underground and mainstream markets and communities; and much of that involvement has been framed in the context of Black politics and history. Understandably, conversations about Black people’s engagement with alternative sexual practices and lifestyles has historically been publicly suppressed, discouraged, or censored by those both within and outside of Black communities in the name of protection, uplift, and/or respectability. We know the many historical reasons why such material has long been considered taboo and has therefore been ignored or condemned. For example, such practices have predominantly been understood as oppressive and injurious to Black women, in particular. However, to frankly explore complex and at times difficult relationships between gender, desire, sexuality, and race is crucial.
Critical race studies and gender and sexuality studies, as broad disciplines, are overdue for in-depth engagement with these topics and social spaces. However, scholars are increasingly publishing groundbreaking work on this subject including “Race, Pornography, and Desire: A TBS Roundtable” (2016) and book-length studies such as Ariane Cruz’s The Color of Kink (NYU 2016), Mireille Miller-Young’s A Taste for Brown Sugar (Duke 2014), Jennifer C. Nash’s The Black Body in Ecstasy (Duke 2014), and Amber Musser’s Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism (NYU 2014). This work is attentive to Black female pleasure in relation to kink, BDSM, and pornography in ways that not so much reject a Black feminist scholarly tradition that has long dissuaded such conversations, but extend it. Additionally, books such as Biman Basu’s The Commerce of Peoples: Sadomasochism and African American Literature (Lexington 2012), Darieck Scott’s Extravagant Abjection: Blackness, Power, and Sexuality in the African American Literary Imagination (NYU 2010), and Kathryn Bond Stockton’s Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where Black Meets Queer (Duke 2006) explore kink in the Black literary imagination. Such scholarly interest echoes growing academic attention to pleasure in critical race theory and queer theory and developing research on racialized sexualities and sexualized racialization.
Based upon the success of the TBS roundtable and the book-length studies mentioned above, the guest editors contend that we are now culturally and politically ready to engage in these conversations. We seek scholarly essays/articles for peer review, but also shorter pieces which might include interviews, position papers, manifestos or reflective, personal essays that consider black peoples’ involvement with radical sex and pornography in relation to the following:
- Black sexual politics/stereotypes
- The politics of respectability
- Queer and Trans Desires
- Black feminism/womanism
- Desire, pleasure, power
- Agency and consent
- Politics of perversion
- Transgression and abjection
- History, slavery, race play
- Sexology, racial pseudoscience
- Labor, sex work, the adult film industry
- Policing, censuring, censorship
- Technology, the Internet, Social Media
- Music, film, popular culture
- Arts, aesthetics, visual and print culture
- Archives and archival work
- Erotic Activism
- Black love and Intimacy
- Black futurity
- Religion and Philosophy
- The Black Literary Tradition
- Sexuality, Incarceration, and Carcerality
Submissions to TBS must be original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere. To make sure your submission is processed as smoothly as possible, please review our general guidelines on The Black Scholar website here. Any submissions that do not adhere to our guidelines will be returned.
For this issue, full-length manuscripts for peer review should range in length from 3,000-4,500 words. Word counts for shorter pieces may vary. All word counts are inclusive of endotes and images.
We require electronic submissions, in Word format, only. To submit articles, please go to http://www.editorialmanager.com/rtbs.
Because we strive 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.
All full manuscript submissions due by May 15th, 2019. Issue is slated for publication in Summer of 2020 (TBS’s 50th Anniversary).
For questions, please email the Guest Editors at:
Kirin Wachter-Grene [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Louis Chude-Sokei [email@example.com]