May 1, 2015
Table of Contents:

Call for Submissions: A Determined Life: The Elizabeth Keckly Reader

Eno Publishers seeks submissions of critical and creative work for a reader focused on the life, work and legacy of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly. Located in Hillsborough, NC where Keckly endured the horrors of enslavement, Eno Press will publish A Determined Life: The Elizabeth Keckly Reader in April, 2016. Edited by Sheila Smith McKoy, the reader seeks to present a comprehensive view of Keckly's remarkable life. Much like Keckly herself, the reader will be multi-faceted in its approach, examining her life through a variety of lenses. We are seeking essays, drama, fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction for this project. A Determined Life: The Elizabeth Keckly Reader welcomes submissions inspired by the following questions:
  • How does Keckly's life frame our expectations about mixed raced people in the era? How do her life and work inspire us to think differently about "race" in this contexts?
  • Keckly has been the subject of a number of books for children and young readers. What makes Keckly an inspiring subject for young readers? How should her life as an enslaved woman and a free entrepreneur be depicted for these readers?
  • How does Keckly enable us to understand proto-feminism, womanism and other ideas about women's empowerment?
  • What should readers understand about the roles of mobility and migration in shaping Keckly's life and opportunities?
  • How can we expand, contextualize or revise existing narratives about Keckly and her contributions as activist, writer and business woman?
  • How does Keckly's relationship with Mary Todd Lincoln act as a new, more representative narrative of relationships between white and black women in the 19th Century?
  • How should Keckly be positioned alongside Frederick Douglass? Harriet Wilson? Varina Davis? Anna Julia Cooper? Other contemporaries?
  • Several of the dresses she designed for Mary Todd Lincoln are still extant. How can she be positioned as a designer, as the designer of Mary Todd Lincoln's "branding? How does this "branding" define their relationship?
  • How should Keckly's life be framed for contemporary readers?
  • What makes Behind the Scenes: or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the While House a unique enterprise for the slave narrative?
  • What does Behind the Scenes: or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the While House offer readers that is distinct from the more recent narratives focused on the Black presence in the White House?
  • What does the dearth of scholarship focused on Keckly's life as an activist or post- enslavement suggest about the "permanence" of race in America?
  • How should Keckly's legacy be defined in the contemporary moment? In her own time?
  • How can Keckly be defined as an African American leader? As a female leader?
  • Keckly worked with Mary Todd Lincoln in the aftermath of the death of her son, the assassination of her husband and the traumas of life after the White House. She was both criticized and applauded for revealing the intimate details of Lincoln's life. How, then, do we define this relationship?
  • How should we consider Keckly's life in Hillsborough and its impact on her life?
  • How can we define Keckly's work as a teacher at Wilberforce? What is the significance of her work as an educator?
  • What is the dividing line between victim and survivor as it is reflected in the life of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly?
Submissions in the following formats are welcome: for new scholarship, submit a complete draft of 20 -25 pages; for previously published work include a word document, publication information and permission information; for creative texts, submit no more than three poems or one piece of fiction, drama or creative non-fiction. All submissions must be accompanied by a brief cv (also in Word format). We are seeking submissions that are accessible for both academic and general audiences. Please send submissions to Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy by September 30, 2015. Completed texts are due by December 3, 2015. Email queries are welcome:

UC Riverside Department of Dance, Department Theatre, Film & Digital Production,
the Center for Ideas & Society, & the UC Humanities Research Institute invite proposals for:

Show & Prove 2016 (S&P16) Hip Hop Studies Conference:  CALL FOR PAPERS/PANELS/PERFORMANCES/ WORKSHOPS

Department of Dance, UC Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA  92507

April 8-10, 2016

Key Words:  performance, spirit

The "Show & Prove" series is dedicated to being a platform for scholars across the humanities and human sciences, Hip Hop artists and practitioners, community members, and students to interact, share work, and to collectively develop the field of Hip Hop Studies.  S&P16 is an interdisciplinary conference at which all of those who work on Hip Hop in disparate fields may speak to one another face-to-face, and help move each others' efforts forward.  Collectively we strive to better understand the nature of doing work on Hip Hop and the expanse of ways that Hip Hop speaks to the world. 

The 2016 conference is focused on two  key themes:  spirit and performance.  These keywords  act as signposts around which we will convene.  On their own, each  term speaks to a broad range of analytical possibilities.  "Spirit" entails notions of spirituality, the heart and soul of a culture, or its ideological core.  Yet there is also an easy slippage into limiting notions of essence, authenticity, and the real.  "Performance" has the obvious connotation of cultural production within Hip Hop, sometimes referred to as "the elements" (with DJing, MCing, graffiti art, and b-boying as the baseline).  Scholarship alerts us to the dimensions of "performance" that are also about performativity and the performance of everyday life-i.e. the ways that we enact identities, or that we deploy strategies of self-presentation.  " Performance" and "spirit" can also overlap in interesting ways:  e.g., people may perform reality or authenticity, both in the sense of an enactment on stage or as means of establishing one's own legitimacy.  S&P16 invites you to conjure up the possibilities of these themes.

 Some questions we might consider include:
  • What is the heart of Hip Hop?
  • How do performance and performativity converge in Hip Hop?
  • Does authenticity still matter?
  • Is resistance part of the spirit of Hip Hop?  To what end?  What does it look like in practice?
  • What does Hip Hop's spiritual expression look/sound/feel like?
  • How do we deploy heart, soul, and love for and through Hip Hop?
  • How does performance create new possibilities for being in the world?
  • Where can doing Hip Hop and thinking Hip Hop intersect?
  • Can Hip Hop teach us about our current socio-political terrain?
  • How is Hip Hop deployed for social justice?
  • What is at the "center" of Hip Hop?  Can we de-center Hip Hop?  Do we need a center?
  • How is Hip Hop as we know it challenged, critiqued, made possible, or destabilized by performances of Hip Hop?
In honor of the conference's relocation to UC Riverside's Department of Dance, we will feature performances-including theatrical pieces and dance classes.  S&P16 will also feature a special panel of undergraduate work, demonstrating the future of Hip Hop Studies. 

Please submit a 300-word proposal for a paper, workshop, performance, film, or panel to Dr. Imani Kai Johnson at  by August 15, 2015.  All proposals should specify space or A/V needs, and include name and contact information (please do not send CVs).  Panel proposals should include additional 200 word descriptions of papers.  Proposals for performances or films should specify the length of the piece, format, and its relation to the conference keywords.   Undergraduate paper proposals should be from current undergrads, and include a proposed faculty mentor who can serve as a guide in the process of preparing to present at a conference.  Notices indicating the acceptance of your submission will be sent by September 15, 2015.

Join Our Mailing List