The year 2017 represents the 375th anniversary of African American presence in Maryland. Since the arrival of the first captives from Africa in 1642, people of African descent have contributed significantly to the shaping of Maryland’s culture, economy, and institutions. The organizers of this conference invite panels and individual papers addressing any aspect of the history, culture, and experiences of African Americans in Maryland for presentation at the inaugural conference of the Bowie State University Humanities Initiative at Bowie State University. Possible topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • Slavery and resistance in Maryland, 1642-1864
  • Communities of Free Persons of Color
  • African Americans and the War for Independence
  • African American abolitionists
  • African Americans and the Civil War
  • African Americans, Emancipation, and Reconstruction, 1864-1877
  • African Americans in the Era of Jim Crow
  • Lynching in Maryland
  • The Long Civil Rights Movement in Maryland
  • African Americans and Desegregation in Maryland
  • Black Power in Maryland
  • African American student protests in Maryland
  • African American women in Maryland
  • African American women in politics in Maryland
  • Iota Phi Theta Fraternity and the Iota Sweethearts
  • The Baltimore Uprisings of 1968 and 2015
  • Negro Leagues Baseball in Maryland
  • African Americans and sports in Maryland
  • African American women and sports in Maryland
  • African Americans and education in Maryland
  • African American women and education in Maryland
  • African Americans and “the Achievement Gap” in Maryland
  • African Americans and the legal system
  • African American women and the legal system
  • African American music, literature, and the arts
  • African American women and music, literature, and the arts
  • African Americans and the media
  • African American women and the media
  • African American language, Vernacular Black English, and Communications
  • African American entrepreneurship and Black businesses
  • African American women and Black businesses
  • African American psychologies of oppression and liberation
  • African American families

Individual presentations should be approximately 15-20 minutes in length. Selected papers will be invited for revision, expansion, and peer review in an edited volume published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Maurice Jackson, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University, and author of Let This Voice be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism.

The mission of the BSU Humanities Initiative is to facilitate, promote, and disseminate research in the humanities and related disciplines that is comparative, interdisciplinary, transnational, and innovative in scope and methods in the fields of African, African American, and African Diaspora Studies. The BSU Humanities Initiative provides a forum for interdisciplinary dialogues that highlight the necessary link between the humanities as diverse modes of intellectual inquiry and humanity as experienced in both momentous and quotidian moments. Scholars and students affiliated with the BSU Humanities Initiative engage the following questions: What does it mean to be human? How have people sharing an African heritage in different places and at different times experienced their lives and times? How have they expressed their humanity through the media of arts and letters, as well as through lived human experience? How can this humanistic heritage further enrich African American communities and inspire other peoples around the world?

The BSU Humanities Initiative is the only program dedicated to the promotion of scholarship in the interdisciplinary humanities at Historically Black Institutions (HBI) in the United States, and the only initiative in the State of Maryland dedicated to scholarly research in the humanities in general with a primary focus on the experiences of Africans and peoples of African descent. The BSU Humanities Initiative fulfills its mission through hosting conferences that address issues and topics of timely interest to scholars in and of the humanities, and supporting collaborative interdisciplinary research and discussion groups composed of faculty and students from Maryland’s four HBIs. The BSU Humanities Initiative is a model of engaged interdisciplinary and internationally-minded scholar-activism that recognizes: necessary links between critical reflection upon issues of poverty and oppression in all their forms; profound commitment to developing practical solutions to eliminate poverty and oppression; and social action to implement proposed solutions.

The BSU Humanities Initiative seeks to reach out to and benefit scholars and students of the humanities with particular interests in the experiences of Africans, African Americans, and communities of African descent in the Americas and elsewhere. It will improve the quality of humanities teaching and learning at Maryland’s HBIs by bringing together established and journeyman scholars to share their research in the humanities to the campuses, as well as provide opportunities for humanities faculty on the four campuses to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries in order to develop projects that will further their research and integrate the content of that research into existing courses and the development of new courses in the humanities.

Please submit individual paper proposals (c.300 words), panel proposals (c. 500 words) and a brief CV (2pp. maximum) for each presenter by Tuesday, August 15, 2017 to:

Dr. Nicholas Creary, Director

BSU Humanities Initiative

Bowie State University

Humanities@bowiestate.edu