25 April 2011

Call for Essays/ Creative Pieces - African Women in Motion: Gender and the New African Diaspora in the United States

Post date: 25 April 2011
Deadline: 15 June 2011

Critical essays and creative pieces are sought for an interdisciplinary book on African immigrant women in the United States. African immigrant women comprise 45.6% of African immigrants in the United States and represent the second most educated group of women in the United States. This demographic profile is yet to grab the critical attention of US immigration and new African diaspora scholars. The edited volume seeks to bring to visibility the hitherto untapped critical mass of African immigrant women in the United States.

The influx of African immigrants into the United States in the last three decades is steadily leaving marks on the nation’s ethnic and cultural landscape. Federal data for 2010 shows that African nations are now the largest suppliers of immigrants in places like Minnesota where Asians and Latin Americans traditionally formed the immigrant stock. Similarly such recent and expanding enclaves as “Little West Africa” or “Little Senegal” in Harlem, ”Fouta Town” in Brooklyn and “Little Somalia” in Minneapolis assert the unequivocal formation of a new African diaspora in the United States.

Scholars have been catching up with this new African diaspora, as shown by numerous essays on cultural and racial negotiations, translocal and transnational practices, and entrepreneurship. However substantial and comprehensive studies, in the form of books, have been slow in the making. To date, the most significant studies include John Arthur’s Invisible Sojourners: African Immigrant Diaspora in the United States (2000), Paul Stoller’s Money Has No Smell: The Africanization of New York City (2002), Jacqueline Copeland-Carson’s Creating Africa in America: Translocal Identity in an Emerging World (2004), Jacob Olupona and Regina Gemignani’s African Immigrant Religions in America(2007), Isidore Okpewho and Nkiru Nzegwu’s The New African Diaspora (2009), John Arthur’s African Women in the United States: Crossing Transnational Borders (2009), and Zain Abdullah’s Black Mecca: The African Muslims of Harlem (2010).

With the exception of John Arthur’s African Women in the United States, which focuses exclusively on West African women and adopts a sociological methodology, this emerging body of scholarship falls short on gender analysis. Yet critical theorists of migration have now established that a sophisticated reading of immigrant processes necessitates gender-sensitive and gender-specific approaches. The lack of such approaches in existing studies of the new African diaspora has rendered African immigrant women invisible despite a unique demographic profile that identifies them as an important critical mass of both the African immigrant experience and the woman immigrant experience in the United States. Data from the 2000 US Census indicate that African immigrant women, 68.4% of whom are in their childbearing years, represent 45.6% of African immigrants. According to the same data, African immigrant women represent the second most educated group of women in the United States. In light of this demographic profile, the invisibility of African immigrant women in both the emerging scholarship on the new African diaspora and the more established scholarship on immigrant women in the United States strikes us as a major epistemological gap.

African Women in Motion: Gender in the New African Diaspora in the United States seeks to fill the above-mentioned gap. To this effect we welcome critical essays and creative pieces that reckon the centrality of African immigrant women as a site of analysis and an epistemological window to the new African diaspora in the United States. We are particularly keen on contributions that resist the traditional “deficit-framing” of immigrant women by dominant discourses. The book is in an interdisciplinary study. As such we welcome contributions from all disciplines as well as contributions that adopt interdisciplinary methodologies. We also seek to represent immigrant women from different parts of the continent.

Possible topics might include (but are in no way limited to) the following:

• Creation and negotiation of new gender roles and identities
• African immigrant women and the discourses of diaspora, transnationalism, translocalism, postnationalism, cosmopolitanism
• African cultural scripts that feed and sustain the subject-positions of African immigrant women
• Role of African immigrant women in developing and sustaining such places a “Little West Africa” in Harlem, “Fouta Town” in Brooklyn, or “Little Somalia” in Minneapolis
• Literary perspectives on African immigrant women; African female artists of the new African diaspora
• Reading the Bodies of African Immigrant Women
• Historical perspectives on African immigrant women in the United States
• Motherhood
• Relations between African immigrant women and other Black women; African immigrant women and race
• African Muslim women in post 9-11 America
• African immigrant women in the professions, in academia, as entrepreneurs
• Undocumented African Immigrant women
• African immigrant women and domestic violence/abuse
• African immigrant women and their relationships to home
• African immigrant women as activists and community organizers
• African immigrant women and dating
• African women students in US higher education
• African women refugees
• African women in US prisons
• African women sex workers

Please send a 300-500 words article proposal, accompanied by a short bio-biographical statement listing your institutional affiliation, before June 15, 2011 to the editors:
Ayo A. Coly (ayo.a.coly@dartmouth.edu) and Marame Guèye (gueyem@ecu.edu). Deadline for complete submissions: November 15, 2011

Contact Information:

For inquiries: ayo.a.coly@dartmouth.edu, gueyem@ecu.edu

For submissions: ayo.a.coly@dartmouth.edu, gueyem@ecu.edu
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