CFP for Black Female Religious Public Intellectuals

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NeMLA 2017: Black Feminist Public Intellectuals from the Nineteenth Century to the Present

Since the nineteenth century, Black female public intellectuals have called attention to and protested against the discrimination of African American women on the basis of their race, class, and gender, and particularly in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, their sexual orientation. Drawing on their spiritual authority, many of these black feminists, from Maria Stewart, Anna Julia Cooper, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett to Pauli Murray, bell hooks, and Maya Angelou, have attempted to dislodge the normative thinking that has occluded the presence of these injustices. Whether marching, writing, preaching, or speaking, their goal has been to challenge and undermine discriminatory practices in all areas of social and political life and spur the public into into action. Specifically, these public intellectuals have relied on their Scriptural knowledge and spiritual strength to build alliances and forge partnerships with others dedicated to social justice. Not simply confined to the academy, these religious feminist advocates for equality have made a space for themselves in the public eye to reach general audiences, most of whom were and are affected by a system designed to maintain their oppressed status.

This panel’s goal is to present an historical trajectory of Black female religious public intellectuals since the nineteenth century and thus seeks papers that will demonstrate these women’s efficacy in creating a movement for social change. We welcome proposals from scholars in various fields whose interests are aligned with the issues outlined above.

This panel will be a part of the 48th Annual Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Convention, March 23-26, 2017, in Baltimore, MD. Interested authors should submit 250-300-word abstracts through the CFP list on NeMLA’s website:

Submissions must also include the author’s full name, email address and institutional affiliation and must be received by September 30th, 2016. For submission guidelines, go to:

Accepted panelists must be members of NeMLA by December 5, 2016, and register for the conference by the same date in order to present.

Inquiries: Jami Carlacio (

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