Institute for Black Atlantic Research, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), UK, 13-14 January 2022, Preston campus and online

Submission deadline: October 31, 2021

Practices and discourses of mobility have been crucial for the Black experience across the Atlantic World. Civilisations from Africa and Europe have been in contact since antiquity, and interactions between Africa and the Americas may date back to premodern times as well. Later, Atlantic slavery and the globalised economy it enabled depended on the mobile placement and displacement of unfree black labour on both sides of the ocean. The acts and movements of Black resistance and liberation in the circum-Atlantic resulted from and further enabled the discursive and corporeal mobilisation of Black individuals and groups, from slave revolts to Black Lives Matter. Moreover, many works of Black cultural expressions not only resulted from various forms of Black mobility but, in turn, also sought to engender such mobilities themselves.

The conference “Black Mobilities in the Atlantic World” wants to explore forms and developments of Black mobilities across the circum-Atlantic region from the colonial era to the present. It seeks to bridge often separately-studied fields such as Black Diaspora Studies, Area Studies, Transnational and Mobility Studies to complement—and complicate—the discourses of Black mobilities in the Atlantic World. We particularly wish to discuss, on the one hand, the intersectionalities between social identity categories such as ethnicity, gender, class, or religion, in the context of African and Black diasporic mobilities in the circum-Atlantic. On the other hand, we are interested in addressing the interaction between social, cultural, or economic practices and discourses. This includes especially articulations of socio-cultural experiences in communal and individual narratives, visual and performing art forms, or socio-political movements as well as the function of these types of articulations in the formation of individual and collective identities.

The conference invites presentations on Black mobilities in and among the Americas, Africa and Europe from a variety of academic disciplines, such as history literature, art history, music, social or political science, among others. It particularly seeks to engage with, though not limiting itself to, the following types of Black diasporic mobility in the Americas:

  • the physical mobility and mobilisation of Black people across geographic spaces
  • their social, economic, and/or cultural mobility and mobilisation between different cultures and social strata; and/or
  • their discursive mobilities and mobilisation, that is, their uses of different types and practices of social and/or artistic discourses for purposes of Black empowerment and mobilisation.

While the conference’s primary language will be English, papers may also be delivered in French or Spanish. Please designate your language in your proposal.

We are planning the conference to take place in a hybrid format on UCLan’s Preston campus and online, with the option to move fully online if necessary. Conference session times will be devised to accommodate online participants from different time zones. Please state your intended participation format in your proposal.

For student and unwaged participants seeking to attend the event in Preston, a limited number of travel bursaries is available. Please note that these may not cover all expenses.

Please send paper proposals of up to 350 words, together with a short author bio of max. 150 words to the conference convenor, Astrid Haas, by October 31, 2021. Notifications about acceptance will be sent out by mid-November.


Dr. Astrid Haas

Institute for Black Atlantic Research | School of Humanities, Language and Global Studies

University of Central Lancashire | Livesey House 208 | Preston PR1 2HE, UK