2021 Black History Theme:
The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity

106th Annual Meeting and Conference
September 2021

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In these extraordinary times, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History recognizes that we need each other now more than ever. With the limitations of the world-wide pandemic in mind we have decided to move our 106th Conference to a virtual platform. In order to maintain the spirit of community that we each enjoy during the physical conference, we have decided to modify our format to best suit our needs.

We will convene on every every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in September beginning on September 14th with activities broadcast via Zoom and ASALH TV.

Our virtual conference will include:

• Live Interactive Panels and Workshops

• The ASALH Film Festival

• The Hine/Horne Inaugural Book Roundtables

• Plenary Sessions

• The ASALH Opening and Closing Receptions

• The ASALH Annual Awards

• And more…

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To Contact the Academic Program Committee please complete the information below and you will be contacted within approximately 72 hours.

Contact the APC

2021 Black History Theme
The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity

The 106th Annual Meeting and Conference | September 2021

The Deadline is April 30, 2021

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The 2021 ASALH Academic Program Committee invites proposals for individual papers, entire sessions, presentations, performances, films, round-tables, workshops, conversations, or alternative formats dealing with the 2021 theme, “The Black Family”.

The Black family has been a topic of study in many disciplines such as history, literature, the visual arts and film studies, sociology, anthropology, and social policy.  Its representation, identity, and diversity have been reverenced, stereotyped, and vilified from the period of enslavement to our own time. Since family reunions and genetic-ancestry searches testify to the spread of family members across states, nations, and continents, the Black family knows no single location. Not only are individual Black families diasporic, but Africa and the diaspora itself have been long portrayed as the Black family writ large. While the role of the Black family has been described by some as a microcosm of the entire race, its complexity as the “foundation” of African American life and history can be seen in numerous debates over how to represent its meaning and typicality from a historical perspective—as slave or free, as patriarchal or matriarchal/matrifocal, as single-headed or dual-headed household, as extended or nuclear, as fictive kin or blood lineage, as legal or common law, and as Black or interracial, etc. Variation appears, as well, in discussions on the nature and impact of parenting, childhood, marriage, gender norms, sexuality, and incarceration. The Black family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present.

The Academic Program Committee seeks a diverse slate of presenters and panels representing a variety of professional and institutional backgrounds, perspectives, and voices. We are interested in detailed, comprehensive, and descriptive proposals that outline the theme, scope, and aim of participants. The committee particularly seeks presentations that probe the traditional fields of economic, political, intellectual, and cultural history; the established fields of urban, race, ethnic, labor, and women’s/gender history as well as southern and western history; along with the rapidly expanding fields of sexuality, LGBT, and queer history; environmental and public history; African American intellectual history; literature; and the social sciences.

We encourage proposals from scholars working across a variety of temporal, geographical, thematic, and topical areas in Black history, life and culture. We seek to foster a space of inclusion in the ASALH program and encourage submissions from anyone interested in presenting including: historians, students, new professionals, first-time presenters, activists, and practitioners from allied professions. Review this frequently asked questions link for more information. 

Deadlines for submission of proposals are as follows:  Early Bird Submissions will be accepted until March 15, 2021 at 5PM (EST). Responses to Early Bird submissions will be sent out by April 15, 2021 at 5 P.M (EST). After this date, the committee will accept all submissions until the deadline of April 30, 2021. Regular Submissions will be responded to by June 15.