Black Girls, Black Girlhood, and the Stories We Tell:
Black Girls’ & Black Women’s Coming-of-Age Narratives
Who are our girls? What are their stories? Where are their voices? And when do they get to speak, to share their experiences and step from behind the walls and entities aimed at silencing them? How do they use their voices? Through protest and resistance. Through self-actualization at times much too soon. Through navigating intersectional identities.
The current literary scholarship on the lives and experiences of black girls and black women’s coming of age (CoA) is minimal or missing. So much past and contemporary literature across genres centers and explores the world, life, history, and relationships, through the “experiential” lenses of black girls and black women. Thus, this is an omission that needs correcting immediately.
We are seeking scholarly papers that examine literary texts about black girlhood and black women’s coming of age experiences. We are soliciting analyses of fiction and memoir from any genre and time period (although, our primary focus is on 20th and 21st century narratives) – in part to demonstrate the range of black girls’ and black women’s CoA narratives. The girls and women can be the central or side characters of the stories. The idea is to pull the girls and women from the margins to the fore, to highlight the dynamic, intersectional, and everyday aspects of growing up “black girl.” Too, we aim to provide a collective space for this literary scholarship on the depictions, discussions, and hypothesizings about black girls, black girlhood, and black women’s coming-of-age narratives.
Note: Our definition of “black” is open to include girls and women of and across the African Diaspora. This CFP is looking for papers in three categories: Traditional, Alternative, & Diasporic Narratives. However, we are open to expanding those categories. If your work examines black girls and black women’s coming-of-age experiences in some capacity, we invite you to share it with us and to share this CFP with others who might be interested.
*The deadline for initial abstract submissions is Monday, November 20, 2017. The deadline for full draft submissions is Monday, March 19, 2018.
*Submissions and any questions should be submitted to [email protected].
Dr. helen j. crump, co-editor Dr. RaShell R. Smith-Spears, co-editor
Assistant Professor of English Associate Professor of English
Jackson State University Jackson State University
- First Submission: Please submit an Abstract of your paper by Monday, November 20, 2017. Abstracts should be 150-350 words and submitted in Microsoft Word. In addition, please submit a 100-200-word Biography, also in Microsoft Word.
- If accepted, Second Submission: Please submit a Full Draft of your paper by Monday, March 19, 2018. Submissions should be 15-20 pages long, not including Works Cited pages.
- Abstracts and Papers should include a Cover Page with Name, Position, Institution / Affiliation, Contact Information (especially an email address and phone number), and a list of “5 Key Words.”
- All submissions should follow current MLA formatting for citations, notes, quotations, etc.
Suggestions for Primary Black Girl / Black Women CoA Narratives; other titles are welcome:
Adichie, Chimamanda. Purple Hibiscus.
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Banks, L.A. Minion.
Bolton, Ruthie Mae. Gal: A True Life.
Bond, Cynthia. Ruby: A Novel.
Brand, Dionne. At the Full and Change of the Moon.
Bulawayo, NoViolet. We Need New Names: A Novel.
Butler, Octavia. Fledgling.
Clemmons, Zinzi. What We Lose: A Novel.
Cliff, Michelle. Abeng.
Condé, Maryse. Desirada.
Dangarembga, Tsitsi. Nervous Conditions.
Danticat, Edwidge. Breath, Eyes, Memory.
Due, Tananarive. My Soul to Keep, African Immortals Series
Faye, Sanderia. Mourner’s Bench.
Gyasi, Yaa. Homegoing: A Novel.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Jones, Tayari. Silver Sparrow.
Kincaid, Jamaica. Annie John.
Marshall, Paule. Brown Girl, Brownstones.
Mathis, Ayana. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.
McFadden, Bernice. Sugar: A Novel.
Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi.
Morrison, Toni. God Help the Child.
Naylor, Gloria. Mama Day.
Okorafor, Nnedi. Akata Warrior.
Phillips, Delores. The Darkest Child: A Novel.
Senna, Danzy. Caucasia: A Novel.
Shange, Ntozake. Sassafrass, Cypress, & Indigo.
Sister Souljah. The Coldest Winter Ever.
Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give.
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple.
Ward, Jessmyn. Salvage the Bones.
Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything.
Zoboi, Ibi. American Street.