Thank you for your interest in writing for Black Perspectives, a publication of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS). We are always looking for new essays on various aspects of global black intellectual history, op-eds on current events, and book reviews. We understand African American and African diasporic thought in its broadest terms and encourage interdisciplinary approaches to black intellectual history.

Writers should carefully review other articles on the site to familiarize themselves with content and style. All submitted pieces will undergo a peer-review process and we reserve the right to reject submissions that do not meet our expectations. We will do our best to review and respond to submitted guests posts within 2 weeks of submission.

Please carefully review the guidelines below before submitting your post:

First, all posts should be approximately 1000-1500 words long. Shorter posts are fine.

Second, please remember that you’re writing for a general audience. Use clear and compelling prose. And please avoid jargon. If you must use it, please define it for the reader.

Third, avoid the lengthy footnotes. You can and should feel free to use footnotes but we prefer that you make good use of hyperlinks. Rather than include ten footnotes to several books, consider including fewer footnotes and a few hyperlinks directly to the books or articles you are citing. Please use brackets to indicate the inclusion of footnotes and hyperlinks i.e. [See www.aaihs.org] OR [1. See The Charleston Syllabus by Chad Williams, Kidada Williams and Keisha N. Blain (University of Georgia Press, 2016)]

Fourth, keep the title short. Avoid the historian’s trend of including a very long quote in titles. And avoid using terms that readers will not understand (again, stay away from the jargon).

Fifth, please proofread your posts. It goes without saying that we want to feature posts that reflect the high quality of the blog.

When you are ready, please send us your completed post with images (optional). Please note that we do not provide financial compensation to authors.

Guest Editors: Paul Hébert and Melissa N. Shaw

In the summer of 2016, Black Lives Matter activists of the Toronto Chapter briefly, but abruptly, halted the city’s annual Pride parade. The protest demonstrated their opposition to police violence against the city’s Black population, a highly racialized carding policy, the stream-lining of Black youth away from post-secondary education, discrimination in social welfare systems, the alarmingly disproportionate levels of incarceration of racialized communities, and the marginalization of Black people within the Pride community. Following the protest, the media debate revealed a general lack of understanding about the fraught history of complicated allies and race politics in Canada.

This event exposed the extent to which the supposed 19th century ‘Promised Land’ for Black Americans seeking racial freedom overlooks the historical and contemporary racism faced by Black Canadians. Indeed, many commentators resented the idea that a movement rooted in racial concerns of the United States could be relevant in a “raceless” country. This, after all, is Canada– a country that prides itself on a dominant ‘Underground Railroad’ historical narrative rooted in an imagined commitment to calling in difference through multiculturalism. This myth of national racial tolerance plays a key role in Canadian self-identity, allowing Canadians to feel a degree of moral superiority when comparing themselves to the United States.

Faced with this willful national blindness to both Canada’s long history of anti-Black racism and Black Canadian protest and resistance, one recent response to this backlash was the development of the Black Lives Canada Syllabus, a crowd-sourced reading list created in the spirit of the #Charlestonsyllabus. The Black Lives Canada Syllabus includes a diverse body of scholarship on the history of Black people in Canada and a uniquely Canadian racial state.

In recent years, scholars have increasingly turned their attention to the history of Black identities, experiences, and activisms in Canada, but this history still remains overlooked, under-studied, and often marginalized in academia and in popular Canadian history. Black Perspectives issues this call for a new series on Black Canada. We invite new and experienced writers–including undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars–to submit guest articles for this special blog series on Black thought and culture in Canada from the early colonial period to the present.

We encourage potential contributors to submit pieces that explore topics that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Slavery in Canada
  • Early Black Canadian settlers
  • Black Canadian political thought and activism
  • Women and gender in Black Canadian history
  • Black Canadian print culture, arts, literature, and music
  • Canada and Black Internationalism
  • Black (e)migrations to Canada
  • Black power movements in Canada
  • Blackness in Canadian courts, law, and the policing of Black bodies.

Blog posts should not exceed 1,500 words (not including footnotes) and should be written for a general audience. Black Perspectives will accept submissions on a rolling basis until April 1, 2017. Accepted pieces will undergo a peer review process before they are published.

About the editors:

Paul Hébert is a graduate of the doctoral program in History at the University of Michigan. His dissertation, “A Microcosm of the General Struggle: Black Thought and Activism in Montreal, 1960-1969,” examined how black Canadians, West Indians, Africans, and African Americans living in and passing through Montreal contributed to the development of schools of Black Power thought and action that were not simply reflections of Black American radicalism, but intellectual and activist movements that responded to specific local dynamics. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he teaches reading, writing and critical thinking to high school students. He is currently writing an article on Canada’s first Black Studies program and developing his first book on Black Power in Canada.

Melissa N. Shaw is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at Queen’s University studying 20th Canadian history. Her dissertation, “Blackness and British “Fair Play”: Burgeoning Black Social Activism in Ontario and its Responses to the Canadian Colour Line, 1919-1939,” explores the symbiotic relationship between anti-Black racism and the rise of "New Negro" Black Canadian activism in Ontario. Last year, her work appeared in Histoire sociale/Social History and Paul E. Lovejoy and Vanessa S. Oliveira’s edited volume: Slavery, Memory, Citizenship. Before heading to Queen’s to pursue graduate studies, she earned her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree with a Specialist in History and Political Science and Minors in Philosophy of Science, and Francophone Studies from the University of Toronto.