BLACKLINES: Black British Writing: Questions of Time and Space

Due Date: 06-30-2022

In the forthcoming issue, we intend to problematize Black British writing as a body of work in relation to questions of time and space. Achille Mbembe’s reminder that “half a century ago, most of humanity was living under the yoke of colonialism, a particularly primitive form of racial despotism” offers a fruitful starting point, alongside the reminder that questions of time interlink with the spatial. In such a light, what are some of the key temporal and spatial meanings with reference to early Black British writing? What allows us to take an adjective derived from ideas of a space, or mapped territory, and reimagine it as literary descriptor? More specifically, how does a set of attributes that connect territorial notions of Britishness impact upon questions of time, whether in terms of periodization or writerly concerns with temporality?

What are some of the meanings or complexities of Black British racial moorings and the corresponding reluctance to seriously engage these within literary and other knowledges? Despite the long transnational history of Black British writing and thought, still too few gain the opportunity to study it. Rich in challenging established meanings, the writing tells of Black British subjectivity and lived experience in several periods of an intensified global movement. With particular attention to questions of space and time, how might this body of work be contextualized, examined, and understood from differing theoretical perspectives including decolonial poetics, transnationalism, creolization, planetary entanglement (Mbembe), human “Other” (Wynter), and feminism(s)? Suggested papers might focus on writing by Gronniosaw, Equiano, Mary Prince, Phillis Wheatley, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, and Philip Quaque. Letters and newspaper articles might be explored, as well as anonymous writing found in the archives, and differentiated temporalities, including Black women’s writing.

To submit a proposed article, please send a brief biography (100 words max.) and an abstract (800 words) to by 30 June 2022. For creative submissions, please send a brief bio (100 words max.) and sample writing not exceeding 600 words.