Special Issue "Sound Studies in African American Literature and Culture"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2022 | Viewed by 674

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Nicole Brittingham Furlonge *
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
Interests: African American literature and culture; Black Feminist literature and culture; sound studies; listening; pedagogy
* Nicole Brittingham Furlonge is a Professor and Director of the Klingenstein Center, Columbia University. She is the author of Race Sounds: The Art of Listening in African American Literature (UIowa, 2018).

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Humanities invites entries that employ sound-focused approaches to African American literary works, multimedia creations, events, and performances, and that explore connections between the fields of African American Literature and Culture and Sound Studies. This Special Issue aims to: (1) convene a critical conversation between existing and new approaches to the theory and practice of sound study in the field of African American Literature and Culture; and (2) to frame, through theoretical, practical, creative, and speculative scholarly contributions, the development of new and transformative convergences between these two resonant fields.

African American and Black Feminist literary and cultural studies feature a robust and sustained critical and creative engagement with sound. This body of criticism has examined how sound and voice have been represented in works of different genres, modalities, and periods. Increasingly, scholars are exploring the themes of listening and hearing at the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality—both on and off the page. Some more recent additions to this area of scholarship include the works of Alexander Weheliye (Phonographies, 2005), Kevin Quashie (The Sovereignty of Quiet, 2012), Tsitsi Jaji (Africa in Stereo, 2013), Emily Lordi (Black Resonance, 2013), Carter Mathes (Imagine the Sound, 2015), Jennifer Stoever (The Sonic Color Line, 2016), Nicole Brittingham Furlonge (Race Sounds: The Art of Listening in African American Literature, 2018), Daphne Brooks (Liner Notes for the Revolution, 2021), and Anthony Reed (Soundworks, 2021), among many others.

Works submitted for this Special Issue might build upon or depart from earlier critical approaches, and turn to sonic figures such as listening, hearing, frequencies, deafness, noise, quiet, sonic vibrations, amplification, sampling, frequencies, sound technologies (radio, phonograph, microphones, turntables, beat boxes, tape recorders, video, mp3), and their representation in cultural texts on and off the page. Some examples of questions scholars might consider include:

  • What does African American literary history sound like?
  • What does it mean to listen to, for, or in literary contexts?
  • What possibilities and challenges do sonic features bring to the work of literary analysis? To the work of speculation?
  • How does Blackness and intersectionality sound in sound studies?
  • How does the sonic literary archive speak to or challenge the print canon?
  • How does the sonic literary archive suggest alternate African American literary histories?
  • How does the sonic literary archive reveal previously muted literary voices and communities within the tradition of African American literature?
  • What can the sound-infused study of African American literature and culture bring to sound studies—and vice versa?
  • What can literary and sound practitioners and artists, and literary and sound theorists learn from each other?
  • How might teaching African American literature with or through sound and listening alter or inform literary pedagogy?

Submissions may take the form of scholarly articles, speculative pieces, theoretical forays, historical accounts, multimodal pieces, detailed case studies, also examinations of cinematic, performed, and choreographed texts, or other critical forms that seem most suitable to the author's purpose.

Please submit an abstract (250–500 words) and a bio (50 words, along with a short CV) by June 30, 2022 to: [email protected] If the abstract is accepted, full essay drafts of 5000–6000 words will be due on September 15, 2022. Articles will then undergo external peer review prior to final acceptance and publication as part of the Special Issue. New, emerging, and independent scholars are encouraged to submit materials.

The editor is excited to learn about your work, and to work with you in developing it further should it be a good fit for this Special Issue.

Dr. Nicole Brittingham Furlonge
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com 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. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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.


  • sound
  • listening
  • hearing
  • sonic technologies
  • vibrations
  • frequencies
  • amplification
  • Blackness
  • Black Feminist
  • multimodal
  • sonic speculation
  • sonic Afrofuturism

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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