CFP: Black Digital Social Networks as Intellectual Communities

Reposted from Lynn Johnson on H-Amstdy.

2016 Central Pennsylvania Consortium’s Africana Studies Conference: #Envisioning Black Digital Spaces

Keynote speaker: Alicia Garza, Social Activist & Co-Creator of the viral Twitter Hashtag And Movement, #BlackLivesMatter

April 8-9, 2016
Dickinson College, Carlisle PA

Deadline for proposal submissions: January 31, 2016

Black digital social networks have increasingly become primary sites for the transmission of news, the expression of feelings, sites through which opinions are published, network members are called to action, private and public events are announced, and individual and communal memories are shared. Through these actions and expressions, people connected through membership in social media groups are engaged in an alternative mode of community building that transcends face to face encounters and engagements, all the while crossing and traversing multiple and varied communities of connected social actors. How does the ease and speed of joining digital social networks impact upon the forming of communities wrestling with the social and cultural conditions affecting Africana populations across the world? How do the concerns of Africana people expressed through digital social networks intersect with those of other raced, ethnicized, classed and gendered peoples also using digital social media to convey their realities and politics? Is digital social networking a particularly effective means of establishing intellectual communities, and if so, how? Why? We take as our premise an expansive understanding of what constitutes an intellectual, and includes not only those within academia, but also those from a range of social, professional and class backgrounds who are critically thinking about society, and articulating those ideas through various modes of expression, using digital social networks to share their ideas and build community. How might digital social networks lead to social networks that gather not only in cyber-space, but also face to face, to pursue activities and conversations that are representative of their ideological, emotional, political, and intellectual leanings? In what ways does the culture of social media, the performativity of self-presentation in cyber-space, shape the culture of intellectual discourse and communal action?

With these questions in mind, we invite scholars, artists, and activists to submit abstracts of no greater than 250 words for papers, digital projects and multi-media presentations that specifically explore social networks as intellectual communities. Please include the following details in the abstract: title of paper or project, presenter’s name and title, name of institution or office, email address, and telephone number. Abstracts can be emailed to Lynn R. Johnson, Associate Professor of Africana Studies, at

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The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
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New York, NY 10016-4309