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Black Camera

Call for Submissions

Close-Up: JAY-Z

As a supplement to the Fall 2017 Close-Up on Beyoncé, Black Camera invites submissions for a Close-Up devoted to JAY-Z. Recently inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame by President Barack Obama, JAY-Z is one of the most influential rap artists of all time. With the release of 4:44, JAY-Z has once again shifted the terrain of hip-hop and his own image. Revealed as a philanderer in Beyoncé’s ground-breaking Lemonade, JAY-Z embraces vulnerability and responsibility in his fourteenth album. How does this new perspective elucidate a rapper once renowned for his masculinist lyrics and aggressive posture? This Close-Up aims to explore the evolving image and enterprises of JAY-Z, an artist whose persona is inextricable from his myriad business ventures and entertainment projects. We seek essays that address all stages of his lengthy career from his celebrated debut Reasonable Doubt to the later volumes of In My Lifetime which chronicle his difficult early life to his later masterpieces, The Blueprint and The Black Album. How has his music shaped contemporary hip-hop culture and the political valences of rap? In what ways can we reconcile his capitalist ethics and hustler persona with his critique of racialized generational wealth and extensive philanthropic endeavors? How have his views on gender, sexuality and feminism shifted since the birth of his daughters and his mother’s public announcement that she is a lesbian? What does his political activity and entrepreneurship mean in the age of Black Lives Matter? We especially welcome essays that address JAY-Z’s performance aesthetics and visual representation on stage live and in music videos.

We welcome submissions exploring JAY-Z’s music, videos, films, and public persona from a variety of disciplinary and analytical perspectives. Essays, interviews, and commentaries will be considered. Essays should be 5,000–7,000 words and commentaries 1,000–2,000 words.

Suggested topics include studies of JAY-Z’s songs, videos, business ventures, live performances, as well as formal and conceptual analyses of his work in films. Other lines of inquiry may consider:

  • JAY-Z’s racial identity
  • branding, marketing and self-promotion
  • black masculinity
  • Decoded and the tradition of black autobiography
  • marriage, fatherhood, and family
  • JAY-Z’s collaborations with other rappers and hip-hop musicians
  • rivalries and feuds
  • musical influences
  • politics, activism, and philanthropy
  • sports and business

Please submit completed essays, a 150-word abstract, and a 50–100 word biography by March 1, 2018. Submissions should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Please see journal guidelines for more on submission policy:

Direct all questions, correspondence, and submissions to guest editor Stephanie Li (stephli@indiana.edu).

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Close-Up: Selma: The Historical Record and the American Imaginary

The 2015 release of the Oscar-nominated film Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay, offers the opportunity to revisit not only the significance of the historical figures and events depicted on screen, but also the cultural impact of cinema and its capacity to both reflect upon and critique historical activity. Indeed, Selma and the considerable press it has received become an index to gage both the legacy of the civil rights movement and the status of race relations in the fraught contemporary moment.

As with many works in the historical film genre, Selma has won acclaim and generated controversy in equal measure. The film has been applauded for its powerful historical reenactments, characterizations of Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, and other protagonists of the period, and its depiction of the protest movement spawned by the violence and injustice of Jim Crow. Conversely, Selma has been criticized for its alleged historical misrepresentations, particularly the depictions of Lyndon Baines Johnson and of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

We welcome submissions exploring Selma from a variety of disciplinary and analytical perspectives for publication consideration. Essays, film reviews, and commentaries will be considered. Essays should be 4,000–6,000 words, commentaries 1,000–2,000, and film reviews 500–1,500 words.

Suggested topics include Selma’s production, exhibition, and reception histories, as well as formal and conceptual analyses of the film as a text. Other suggested lines of inquiry are Selma’s relevance to

  • contemporary U.S. race relations
  • mediations of posterity, memory, and history
  • historical accuracy and “truth” in relation to revisionist history or ideological motivation
  • the filmmaker’s intentionality and project of recovery
  • interrogation of the notion of the “postracial”
  • African American women filmmakers in Hollywood
  • the biopic and/or the historical film as genres transnationalism

Please submit completed essays, a 150-word abstract, and a 50–100 word biography by September 30, 2016. Submissions should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Please see journal guidelines for more on the submission policy.

Direct all questions, correspondence, and submissions to co-editor Rachelle Pavelko (blackcam@indiana.edu).

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Close-Up: The New York Scene

Black Camera invites submissions for a Close-Up devoted to black independent filmmakers based in and around New York. In 2015 the Film Society of Lincoln Center premiered the groundbreaking series Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968-1986, programmed by Michelle Materre and Jake Perlin. This series re-contextualized the all too rarely seen film and television works of artists including Jessie Maple, William Miles, Kathleen Collins, Bill Gunn, St. Clair Bourne, Madeline Anderson, Kent Garrett and William Greaves, among many others. Whether in documentaries, experimental shorts, or feature length narratives these artists recharted black life on screen. Falling between the twin poles of production that were the Blaxploitation cycle and what Paula Massood describes as the Black City Cinema of the 1990s, these artists were part of a New York “scene.” Whether as colleagues or friends, a network of black artists emerged. Within this network artists exchanged ideas and challenged typical modes of production and representation.

While many of these filmmakers had close relationships with New York’s prominent public television station WNET, some worked across media. Expanding the scope beyond New York City, these artists represented an East Coast analog to the West Coast work of the LA Rebellion filmmakers. Where UCLA represented a nexus point of education, the networks created on the East Coast were entangled across and against institutions. This Close-Up section endeavors to re-frame how scholars think of “black cinema” and the ways in which black filmmakers on the East Coast honed specific aesthetic and narrative strategies, cultivated often in opposition to those emerging in other artistic spheres. Figures like Gunn and Collins, who were once pejoratively characterized as belonging to the “Hudson River school of cinematography” turned to both the stage and the page as writers, sculpting worlds of middle class black life that cut across time and prescribed notions of legible blackness.

From Kathleen Collins’ recently re-released Losing Ground and Bill Gunn’s still shelved studio-feature Stop, to Woodie King’s neo-realist The Long Night, and William Miles’ magisterial I Remember Harlem, the New York Scene presents a challenging collective of films that defy typical cinematic histories. This Close-Up will feature works rarely discussed not to incorporate them into already existing histories but to pose new questions.

The guest editors welcome submissions on black independent filmmakers within this New York “scene” from a variety of disciplinary and analytical perspectives. Essays, interviews, and experimental works will be considered for publication. Essays should be 3,000—6,000 words.

Suggested topics include studies of an artist within the New York “scene,” collaboration among artists, innovative and experimental aesthetics, the role of public funding, the political and social impact of television, the filmic cartographies of New York, the role of the black press, the role of curators, scholars, and the importance of workshops and collectives.

Other topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • marketing and audience response
  • the importance of new technology and media in production and distribution
  • how music and performance exist on screen
  • black sexuality and black love
  • the archive and its many (after)lives
  • questions of black film history and historiography
  • the politics of representation
  • explorations of the interior lives of black characters
  • discussions of blackness, black embodiment and “black cinema” in relationship to art cinema—is there a black art cinema?
  • black intellectual life onscreen
  • the black avant-garde in cinema
  • modes of experimental and documentary production
  • impact and legacy: how did an early wave impact future filmmakers like Julie Dash, Ayoka Chenzira, Stanley Nelson et. al.
  • the impact of CUNY and its development of black filmmakers

Please submit completed essays, a 150-word abstract, and a 50–100 word biography by May 1, 2018. Submissions should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Please see journal guidelines for more on the submission policy.

Direct all questions, correspondence, and submissions to guest editors Nicholas Forster (nicholas.forster@yale.edu) and Michele Prettyman Beverly (beverly_m@mercer.edu).

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General Call for Submissions

In conjunction with Indiana University Press, the Black Film Center/Archive (BFC/A) at Indiana University, Bloomington, is pleased to announce the publication of Black Camera, an academic and peer-reviewed international journal.

Devoted to the study and documentation of the black cinematic experience, Black Camera is published biannually and is the only scholarly film journal of its kind in the United States.

It features essays and interviews that engage film in social as well as political contexts and in relation to historical and economic forces that bear on the reception, distribution, and production of film in local, regional, national, and transnational settings and environments.

The journal also comprises research and archival notes, editorials, reports, and book and film reviews, and addresses a wide range of genres, including documentary, experimental film and video, diasporic cinema, animation, musicals, comedy, and so on.

The Editor invites submissions by prospective contributors relevant to the following areas:

  • Reconsideration of key black “classic” films
  • Black (and other related postcolonial and Third World) programmatic film statements and manifestos
  • Black sexuality in film
  • Black filmmaking and cinematic formations in Europe
  • Archival film documents
  • Slavery and anticolonial struggles in the historical film
  • Lusophone and francophone African cinemas
  • Sub-Saharan African cinema
  • Cinemas of the Maghreb
  • Black Hollywood
  • Black animation
  • Women filmmakers of the African diaspora
  • Caribbean cinemas
  • Reception studies
  • Film directors, screenwriters, actors
  • Black independent filmmaking
  • Other moving image media (television, new media, etc.)

The Editor gratefully acknowledges the support of the Department of Communication and Culture, and the College of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Please direct questions and submissions to:

blackcam@indiana.edu
(812) 856-7664

Black Camera
c/o Black Film Center/Archive
Wells Library, Room 044
1320 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405

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Submission Guidelines

  • Feature articles, essays, and interviews can be 8,000-10,000 words.
  • Commentaries can be 1,000-2,000 words.
  • Book and film reviews can be 500-1,500 words (exceptions will be considered for review essays).
  • All submissions should be double-spaced, use 12-point Times New Roman font, and have page numbers in the upper right corner.
  • Authors must provide any illustrations and captions and are responsible for obtaining all permissions required to publish an illustration. Illustrations should be submitted as JPG, TIF, or EPS files, preferably of at least 300 pixels per inch.
  • Authors submitting images should be sure to indicate within the text where the image should be placed by inserting the designation “(fig. 1),” “(fig. 2),” etc. at the end of the sentence referencing the image. Please also provide any caption text in a separate document.
  • Submissions should be submitted either electronically by e-mail attachment as a Microsoft Word document. Please complete and include the Black Camera Contributor form with any submission:
    Black Camera Contributor form (PDF)
  • An endnote citation format is required for scholarly essays. Contributors should consult the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.
  • An abstract of 150-250 words must be included.
  • Please include brief biographical statement, affiliation, and contact information.
  • Regrettably, we can neither respond to, nor guarantee publication of, nor return unsolicited manuscripts.
  • We reserve the right to make editorial and stylistic changes.
  • If a submission is selected for publication, a signed Memorandum of Agreement will be sent and must be signed before publication.

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