Call For Papers



University of Sussex | June 30th 2017

Call for Papers – Deadline: 31/03/17
Image via Manzel Bowman | IG: @artxman |

The proliferation of digital technologies has expanded the representation, performativity, and affirmation of experiential Blackness. In this intensely globalised world, predicated on the online and digital, these technologies, and the forms of knowledge/communication they facilitate, impact on the everyday realities and activities of Black people and black cultures; blackness becomes hyper-visible at all levels from the local to the global, and, increasingly, both spectacular and spectacle.

The Digital Blackness conference contributes and builds on a conversation that began within universities in the US in 2016, but orientates the debate from a Black-British perspective – centring the local context of UK communities, researchers, activists and artists; asking how the digital reshapes the meaning, performance, representation, and reception of Blackness in Britain as part of the wider on-going transnational digital exchange and negotiation.

By exploring the specificity of Black British thought within the larger framework of the global Black Digital this conference seeks to help frame a new conversation on black creative and expressive practice, research, content production and resistance as part of the interconnected knowledge and culture ecology, and to generate a new critical understanding of the political economy that shapes the meanings of Blackness online.

This conference seeks to explore how blackness can serve as a critical prism through which to understand broader transformations brought about by digital and technological innovation. To date, the academic fields rising up in response to challenges posed by digital transformation have neglected blackness as a necessary epistemology, experience, and issue of straightforward social justice. How can academics working within the Digital Humanities aid in the decolonisation of the prevalent theories and methods that have come to define the field, and which increasingly limit its scope, and relevance?

Sponsored by the Ascent Research Group, the Sussex Humanities Lab, and the School of Media, Film and Music, contributions are invited to this one-day conference to be held at the University of Sussex on the 30th June 2017.  

Papers might include, but are not limited to, the following themes:

Journalism | Agency | Activism & Resistance | Automation & Algorithms | Transnational Digital Exchanges | Identity, Community & Digital Tribes | The Vector of Blackness | Social Media/New Media | Digital Publishing | Afro Futures | Digital Divide | Archives | Intellectual Property: Ownership, Servers, Content, Copyright | Digital Research Methods | Epistemologies in Digital Humanities | The Politics of Memes | Defining, Searching and Finding Blackness – Metadata | Writing Back | Empowerment | Representation | Aesthetics | Black Art & Music | Black Film | Black LGBTQ | Black Feminism | Black Nationalism | Digital History, Sociology, Art, Cultural Studies | Political Economy of Blackness Online | Health & Wellbeing | Justice & Crime | Business & Entrepreneurship |

In addition to academic papers, the organisers also  welcome  contributions  from digital activists and artists, and non­academic researchers, in the form of other innovative presentation styles (e.g. art installations, videos, augmentation etc.)

Please forward abstract submissions of no more than 300 words to:

Please include your name, contact details and institutional affiliation if applicable ­ and attach your abstract as a word document to the email. Organisers intend to publish selected papers as part of a journal special issue.

For further information please visit:

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