Call for Papers/Panels

Known to locals as “H-Town” and “the Prophetic City,” Houston is the most ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the United States and the fourth largest city in the nation. At least 145 languages are spoken by city residents, and 90 nations have consular representation in the city. As such, it serves as an ideal landscape to reflect on the rich contributions of shifting and dynamic Afro-Diasporic communities in the city over time. For our purposes, the African Diaspora, broadly defined, consists of peoples of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality. This symposium will provide a platform for community members and scholars to come together in order to unpack the ways in which the political, economic and social landscapes of Houston impact the diversity of experiences for Black people in the city. It will serve as an important backdrop to draw attention to Black Houston(s) rich past, and create the intellectual space for scholars and collaborative working groups to establish research networks that will impact future policy and scholarship.

Black Houston(s): Research, Policy & Activism Past & Future(s) will bring together scholars, activists, policy influencers and community members from around the country to Houston. Symposium contributors will explore the ways in which Afro-Diasporic communities have impacted Houston’s history and culture as well as examine the emerging and ongoing issues Afro-Diasporic Houstonians face in the 21st century. Through this symposium, we aim to: (1) produce new knowledge related to Afro-Diasporic Houston; (2) provide a platform for scholarly and community engagement and collaboration; and (3) publish an edited volume drawing from the symposium.

The symposium will take place March 23-24, 2023 at Rice University and the African American Library at the Gregory School. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required to attend.

The committee welcomes individual paper submissions and panel proposals from:

  • Scholars in all stages of their careers (including independent scholars, faculty, graduate and undergraduate students) and/or from various disciplines such as African American Studies, American Studies, Art History, Cultural Studies, Film Studies, History, Medicine, Music History, Psychology, Religious Studies, etc.
  • Representatives from Non-profit organizations
  • Community artists, intellectuals, or journalists

The committee also welcomes poster presentations projects from undergraduate students that examine topics pertaining to Afro-Diasporic Houston or address the ways in which student research and activism has sparked change across institutions in the city.

While we are open to a range of topics, we are particularly interested in papers and posters dealing with:

  1. Policy and activism in Houston
  2. Methodological Innovation in Afro-Diasporic Houston—ethnographic, participatory, activist, experimental and response-able forms of research.
  3. Historic landscapes of Afro-Diasporic Houston
  4. Collaborative and interdisciplinary projects about Houston’s Afro-Diasporic culture
  5. Cultural products–Architecture, Art, Dance, Food Culture, Music, Oral Tradition, Writing
  6. Terms and grammar for talking about Black/Afro-diasporic Houston; the limits of language.
  7. Methods for sharing scholarship on Black/Afro-diasporic Houston (for instance, public history or digital humanities projects)

Submission instructions

Submissions are Closed

To submit a paper or panel proposal, please fill out the Call for Papers/Panels form below.

Please submit a 250-500 word abstract of the paper or panel proposal. Please be certain to include title of paper/panel, your name, institution/affiliation, and contact information. Please submit abstracts as a PDF.

For poster proposals information, guidelines and submission, please visit the Call for Posters page.

Participants will be notified about acceptance to the Symposium by the first week of February, 2023.

Symposium Publication

Selected papers and posters will be included in the symposium edited volume. Papers selected for inclusion must be original work and not previously published, and the paper cannot be under consideration for publication elsewhere. If your paper is accepted, the final submission will be due no later than July 1, 2023.


Submit Paper or Panel
One file only.
10 MB limit.
Allowed types: pdf.
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African American History Research Center

The Black Houston(s) Symposium will be held at The African American History Research Center, Gregory Campus and Rice University's Fondren Library.

Innovating For a More Inclusive World - DEI Smarth City Houston

African American History Research Center, Gregory Campus
1300 Victor St.
Houston, TX 77019

Kyle Morrow Room
Fondren Library
Rice University
6100 Main Street
Houston, Texas 77005


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