The theme for 2022 focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.

In order to foster good health and wellness Black people have embarked on self-determination, mutual aid and social support initiatives to build hospitals, medical and nursing schools and community clinics. Clinics were established by individuals, grassroots organizations and mutual aid societies, such as the African Union Society, National Association of Colored Women and Black Panther Party, to provide spaces for Black people to counter the economic and health disparities and discrimination that are found at mainstream institutions. These disparities and anti-Blackness led to communities developing phrases such as “When white folks catch a cold, Black folks get pneumonia.”

Black Health and Wellness not only includes one’s physical body, but also emotional and mental health. At this point in the 21st century, our understanding of Black health and wellness is broader and more nuanced than ever. More importantly, in the still overhanging shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, Black people should and do use data and other information-sharing modalities to document, decry, and agitate against the interconnected, intersecting inequalities intentionally baked into systems and structures in the U.S. for no other reason than to curtail, circumscribe, and destroy Black well-being in all forms and Black lives. Moreover, Black communities must look to the past to provide the light for our future, by embracing the rituals, traditions and healing modalities of our ancestors. These ways of knowing require a decolonization of thought and practice.

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s 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, medicine, psychology, 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, LGBTQIA, and queer history; environmental and public history; African American intellectual history; literature; and the social sciences.We look forward to proposals that center Black/African Diasporic health from multiple ontologies and epistemologies, embrace decoloniality and engage embodiment.

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 clinicians, community healers, health researchers, and practitioners.

The All-Academic system will be open in January 2022. Deadlines for submission of proposals are as follows: Early Bird Submissions will be accepted via All-Academic until March 18, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Responses to Early Bird submissions will be sent out by April 18, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). After this date, the committee will accept all submissions until the deadline of April 30, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Regular submissions will be responded to by June 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. (EST).