thumbnail of CFP 2020

Dear Colleagues:  

We are excited to announce the fifth Annual History Research Symposium (HRS) at Tuskegee University. This year’s Symposium will be hosted with synchronous and asynchronous virtual sessions on February 10-12, 2021. The theme is: “Insecure: Black Life, Resilience, & Joy in the Age of Uncertainty.” We enthusiastically welcome proposals from students, professional scholars, and grassroot organizers, alike.  

Th Symposium’s theme underscores the undeniable challenges brought to the forefront of American History in 2020. At the time of this Call for Proposals (CFP), and for the immediate future, we are in a state of insecurity. Many of the rhythms of life that we have grown accustomed to now look different, feel different, or in some cases no longer exist. In just a sweep of months, we have contended with and engaged in rebellions against state violence, a global pandemic, faltering political institutions, and an economy that has shined a bright light on deep levels of inequality. Insecurity seems the operative word to describe this moment in time.  

The Symposium’s theme also reflects upon resilience and joy.  It seeks to inspire attendees to reimagine the current state of insecurity as a pathway to racial harmony, racial progress, and stability. It challenges us to think critically about the role of historical inquiry. Undoubtedly, we have had some triumphs (Reconstruction, New Negro Movement, Civil Rights/Black Power, etc.) which were of such epic proportion that they changed not only the nation, but also the world.  

So, at this time, as in earlier periods, we are required to not only live, but also engage this insecurity, resilience, and joy. The beauty and burden of blackness is to have the ironic privilege of grappling with this weighty history and using it to inform how we chart our future. There have been a wide range of responses to troubling times. They include making space for lamentation, self-preservation, resistance, and even joy. All are legitimate, connected, and often existed at the same time in the same person or community.  

For this year’s Symposium, we invite participants to draw on this manifold tradition of engaging ideas of insecurity, resilience, and joy, particularly among people of African descent in the United States and the larger world. We think that important connections and solutions will be made when considering our past, current situation, and our deep abiding desire for a sense of security in the future.  

Perhaps this climate is the most appropriate time for us to celebrate our fifth-year anniversary and to reflect on all the growth we have experienced as a community of scholars. It also allows us to reimagine our effort to re-center Historically Black Colleges and Universities as grounds of rigorous historical inquiry, research, and community engagement.   

The History Research Symposium encourages students, scholars, and community members to submit proposals. HRS promotes professional training, historical inquiry, and intellectual collaboration. We also welcome submissions from other disciplines such as Africana Studies, Culture Studies, Gender Studies, Social Sciences, Behavioral Sciences and Museum Studies. 

For more information, please visit our website: 

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A CFP flyer is attached to this e-mail. The deadline for proposals is Extended to December 18, 2020. We hope that you pass this information along to students and colleagues at your college/university and to others who may be interested in attending this virtual conference.