"But What Does Wonder Do?": A Conference of Emergent Black Studies

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A Call for Presenters

Stanford University, April 11-12, 2019


Applicants should submit a 250-word abstract that includes name and institutional affiliation to Dr. Jakeya Caruthers at jakeyac@stanford.edu by February 4, 2019.  We will inform applicants of their acceptance by late February.  Full drafts will be due at a later date. Please contact Dr. Caruthers with any additional questions. 


For half a century, Black Studies has represented a crucial continuity in thinking blackness and its meaning in the world.  It draws on the analytic imperatives set by black scholarly forebears: poets, playwrights, sociologists, anthropologists, historians, preachers, all.  As scholars like Fred Moten note, it also represents crucial epistemic and political ruptures in the institution and knowledge by/about black life.  Inasmuch as Black Studies is a project of consciousness – of wonder – we ask the question, as once asked Sylvia Wynter, “But What Does Wonder Do?”

Wynter, a treasured former Director of African & African American Studies at Stanford and a philosophical driver of the field, posed the question in a reckoning around meaning, discipline, and questions of blackness and the human.  On the 50th Anniversary of Black Studies, we build on these and many other questions to invite the emergent explorations and evocations – the wonderings – that dare cut new edges in the field.

We invite Junior Scholars (those awarded PhDs within the last five years), Postdocs, and strong ABD graduate students from all disciplines, subfields, and areas of Africana Studies to submit individual papers or creative scholarship from any discipline to a convening of emerging scholars at Stanford University.

Possible analytic, methodological, thematic directions include (but are not limited to):

Black Feminist Theory

Black Queer Theory

Art and Visual Culture 

Musicology and Sound Studies

Embodiment and Sexuality

Historical Inquiry


Critical Geography

Carceral Studies

The Black Atlantic

Affect Studies

Language and Literature

Performance Studies

Political Theory/Philosophy

Health and Medical Humanities

Science, Technology, Digital Studies

Film and Media Studies

African African American