Expressions of Identities in African and African Diaspora Communities through Arts

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778). This special issue belongs to the section "Genealogical Communities: Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Racial, and Multi-National Genealogies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 110

Special Issue Editor

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Humanities, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Interests: theater; literature; dance; performing arts; visual arts; aesthtics; afro-futurism; digital humanities; politics; identities; hip hop; popular culture; Africa and African diaspora

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We invite you to contribute to a Special Issue of Genealogy that will be devoted to expressions of African identities through the arts. We invite submissions focusing on how African and people of African descent spread globally in various geographical locations spanning the black world have deployed a wide array of art forms to express, record, preserve, disseminate, and share their identities in specific historical periods over time. We seek a variety of articles encompassing historical and contemporary views of artistic expressions ranging from ancient rock paintings, artefacts, masks, sculptures, carvings, magic, religious rituals, ceremonies and festivals to more contemporary abstract paintings, graffiti, murals, and futuristic and digital art forms, and how they intersect with African identities. We welcome contributors who examine various art genres, including but not limited to paintings, installations, ceramics, quilts, tapestries, photographs, illustrations, literature, poetry, music, dance, film, theater, rituals, festivals, ceremonies, performance (in its broadest sense), digital art, and other new media art forms such as computer graphics, computer animation, robotics, video games, and 3D printing.

We seek a multiplicity of perspectives and encourage contributors to examine artistic creations as sites of knowledge for African individuals, groups, and communities, and those of African descent. Thus, contributors can also explore the significance of museums, archives, and heritage collections not just as repositories of African descendant people’s historical experiences, but as sites at which collective identities, ancestral memories, and knowledge of the self are produced, preserved, shared, recreated, and re-told. We encourage contributors to explore the extent to which common community ancestries are inextricably tied to personal and family lineages (with African roots) in ways that help shape larger national identities.

In addition, we also welcome analyses that are cognizant of the fact that artistic expressions are not produced in a vacuum, and strongly encourage writers to also examine the wider economic, cultural and socio-political milieus that have had an impact upon African and African descendant family lineage structures and shaped their identities in history.

African identities in particular are shaped, formed, and expressed in very complex ways, and this Special Issue adopts inherently interdisciplinary approaches. The primary goal of this Special Issue is to call attention to the exciting ways in which the fields of genealogy and family histories intersect in an intricate manner with the fields of performing arts, visual arts, digital arts and ancient arts. We envisage that this volume will constitute a welcome addition and supplement to the existing and growing body of literature on African identities and the various ways in which they critically engage with issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion and spirituality, notions of citizenship, origin, immigration status, socio-economic class, and other related components.

The inherently multifaceted and complex nature African identities coupled with the the multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary nature of genealogy and identity studies poses methodological challenges that call not only for sustained critical analyses, but also for pluridisciplinary approaches. We therefore call upon contributors to this volume to deploy academic disciplinary methods specific to their variegated disciplines; this will provide a much more holistic understanding, widen perspectives, and produce new, synthetic knowledge that will contribute to our further understanding of African genealogies and identities expressed through the arts.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400-600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send these to guest editor Praise Zenenga ([email protected]) or to the Genealogy editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of this Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

Dr. Zenenga Praise
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • African and African diaspora identities
  • ancestry
  • genealogy
  • artistic expressions
  • performing arts
  • digital arts
  • modern and contemporary arts and ancient arts
  • national identity
  • memory
  • family lineage
  • museums
  • arichives
  • heritage collections
  • exhibitions

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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