Hyperrhiz : Call for Papers

Special Issue:

Look @ Me Now: Black (In)Visibility across Institutions and Platforms
Edited by Aaron Dial, Brittany Clark Young and Kashian Scrivens

“Emancipation did not make Black life free; it continues to hold us in that singularity. The brutality was not singular; it was the singularity of antiblackness. In what I am calling the weather, antiblackness is pervasive as climate. The weather necessitates changeability and improvisation; it is the atmospheric conditions of time and space; it produces new ecologies”
-- Christina Sharpe, In the Wake

“In Western technoculture, Blackness is theorized as a technical object to be acted upon for the disposal of White political and economic pleasure while for Afrofuturism, Blackness is theorized as a technological avatar to be idealized for Black political and reparative fantasies. Black Technoculture proffers a third way: incorporating the materiality, temporality, and meaning-making capacities of the Black digital and its practitioners as a technological mediation of the Black ‘post-present.’”
-- Andre Brock, “Black Technoculture and/as Afrofuturism”

The two above epigraphs situate the contextual reality at stake within this issue: first, the ways in which antiblackness functions as an assumed and essential measuring stick of Black life, and second, how Black technocultural practices, both now and in the past, have undermined the disposability of Blackness, giving way to a fuller picture of Black life where joy and liberation are not seen as reparative afterthoughts but central tenets of Black life and living. In lieu of challenges, across various spaces, platforms, and institutions perseverance and ingenuity have long served Black people as catalysts for agency and visibility. Shifting perspectives and bending realities, Blackness continues to leave its imprint within cultures, technologies, institutions and platforms. Black (In)Visibility speaks to Black narratives and traditions as both demanding visibility and foretelling the benefits of an insular and protective interpretation of obscurity. Particularly, the invisibility of Blackness can be combated through non-oppressive systems and frameworks of knowing, doing, and being. What non-traditional frameworks and technologies do we use to make Blackness visible? How do choices of consumption and engagement confront and produce assumptions and frameworks for Blackness and establish alternative frameworks of vitality and joy? And finally, in what ways does visibility, invisibility, or hypervisibility affect the constitution and perception of Black personhood and everyday life? While these questions most immediately evoke Simone Browne’s Dark Matters, particularly her understanding of racializing surveillance as being a “technology of social control [with the] power to define what is in or out of place,” (16) our interpretation of (in)visibility encompasses the diversity of Black imaging and imagining and redaction and annotation. Moreover, our hope in this collection is to assemble a robust corpus that engages with Black (In)Visibility across various non-academic spaces and academic disciplines and perspectives.

Blackness as a non-monolithic lived experience surrounds us at all times, permeating across institutions and platforms. Within this antiblack singularity where Black is rendered visible through violence and cruelty, Look @ Me Now: Black (In)Visibility across Institutions and Platforms seeks submissions highlighting Black joy, activism, exploration, and liberation as an unapologetic reclamation. Blackness does not and must not fit into Western technocultural modes of being and living, and as such, we are expanding our submission criteria beyond the traditional academic essay. We are accepting traditional essays, poetry, spoken word, works of art, and any pieces that fall within the proposed list of topics below, but are certainly not limited to: 

  • Black Studies/Black Feminist Studies
  • Media/Technology Studies
  • Surveillance Studies
  • Games Studies
  • Rhet/Comp 
  • Education/Pedagogy Studies
  • Music Studies
  • Gender/Sexuality Studies
  • Platform Studies
  • Popular Culture Studies
  • Social Media Studies
  • Performance Studies
  • Literary/Film Studies
  • Afrofuturism
  • Afro Pessimism

We invite abstracts (250 words) and/or works in progress (1,500 words) by September 13, 2021. Full manuscripts will be due November 19, 2021, with publication date of late Spring 2022.

Please submit all materials to hyperrhizspecial@gmail.com. If you have any specific questions about this topic or submissions, please email hyperrhizspecial@gmail.com.