Call For Papers


January 29-30, 2009
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Sponsored by
The Black Humanities Collective
and The Center for Afroamerican and African Studies

Please distribute widely

The Black Humanities Collective (BHC) and The Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS) of the University of Michigan invite individual paper and panel proposals for our 2009 symposium, “Heart of the City: Black Urban Life on The Wire.

Critically acclaimed and nationally syndicated, HBO’s series The Wire depicts a racialized postindustrial cityscape, marred by the brutal provenance of the drug economy.  In its five seasons, the series is as much a dramatic achievement as it is a complex portrait of a black urban experience.  Featuring a predominantly black cast, The Wire is an exceptional cultural text from which to examine a wide range of urban issues, to be approached from literary, historical, political, and sociological perspectives.

This symposium proposes a critical consideration of The Wire, which treats the show as both a topic and a model of critique. Our aim is to create a space that is open and interdisciplinary. Graduate students, professors, and independent scholars working in the Humanities, the Arts, Social Sciences, Public Policy, and elsewhere are encouraged to join this collective discussion. In this sense, The Wire can serve as a common point of discussion, as a viable vehicle of social engagement in its own right and a text worthy of careful and extended investigation.

Potential paper/panel topics include:

  • Urban Renewal and Decline
  • Race, Place, and Visual Culture
  • The Black Family
  • The City as a Transnational Conduit
  • Critical Masculinities and Femininities
  • Media Ethics and Issues of Representation
  • Sex and Sexualities in the City
  • (Counter-)Public and (Counter-)Private Spheres
  • Pedagogy and Educational Practice
  • City and Regional Planning
  • Performance and Performativity in Urban Space

To submit a paper or panel proposal, please send a 250 word abstract via email to Abstracts and pr oposals are due Monday, December 1, 2008.  Acceptance notifications will be emailed by Monday December 15, 2008.

The Black Humanities Collective is an interdisciplinary graduate student and faculty organization at the University of Michigan dedicated to the intellectual and professional development of those studying Africa and its diaspora.


1 Comment

  1. Nice! I will definitely consider this.

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