Call for Articles: Black Girl Civics: Expanding and Navigating the Boundaries of Civic Engagement

You are invited to submit an article to a new edited book titled, Black Girl Civics: Expanding and Navigating the Boundaries of Civic Engagement, edited by Ginnie Logan and Janiece Mackey. The book will be published by Information Age Press as part of the Adolescence in Educations series edited by Ben Kirshner. If you were to agree, there would be an accelerated review and publication process. Abstracts of 500 words are due April 11 and full chapters (4,000-6,000 words) are due November 1, 2018 (see timeline and full call below).

Call for Chapters
Black Girl Civics is theory built on the experiences of African diasporic girls as civic actors. Logan defines Black Girl Civics as a conceptual term that captures the nuanced ways in which Black girls and young women (roughly ages 14-35) conceive of and express their civic identity as influenced by their race, gender and national context. We define civics as any right or duty a resident performs in service of one’s community, locality or nation. To avoid conflating civic participation with legal citizenship we draw on Mirra and Garcia’s (2017) conception of civics not as a marker of legal status but rather as a signifier “of the rights of individuals to participate fully in civic communities at local, national, and global levels regardless of age or legal residency” (pg. 138). Furthermore, our definition of civics is founded on Flanagan & Faison (2001) idea of democratic community which includes “both the formal communities of local, state, and national politics and the informal communities of fellow citizens [or residents] united by shared interests and concerns” (Flanagan & Faison, 2001 as cited in Mirra and Garcia, 2017, pg. 139).

The idea of Black Girl Civics (BGC) rests on the assumption that Black girls are political actors in a participatory democracy. This draws on a Deweyan (1916) conception of democracy, wherein democracy is not only a system of government, but is also a system of associated living. With this conception of democracy, we can move past calcified institutions of politics and government, which are largely electoral centered and elite dominated (Nam, 2016) to a participatory lens. We understand participatory politics to include activities that broaden the horizon of politics into ordinary communities in which people live their everyday moments (Nam, 2016). BGC asserts that Black girls are actively and iteratively defining their civic identities through participatory politics in relation to their everyday lives, which are largely characterized by their racialized, gendered, age segregated, and nationalized experiences (Logan, in press). At times, their various identities create intersectional (Crenshaw, 1991) experiences, which in turn result in intersectional approaches to civic engagement. Scholars have shown, for example, that Black girls, like Black youth and many non-Black millennial youth, tend to:
  • Move beyond normative expressions of civics, such as voting, to engage in a spectrum of civic and political activity, that may include activism and community organizing (Ginwright, 2007; Ginwright & James, 2002; Youniss & Hart, 2005)
  • Innovate and participate in 21st century methods of civic engagement, such as digital media activism (Allen & Light, 2015; Kishner, 2015; Zuckerman, 2014; Logan, in press)
  • Navigate notions of what it means to be a good citizen through a framework influenced by their identity and positionality (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004; Kishner, 2015).
Moving beyond the false dichotomy of the civics and activism binaries, we seek to develop a book that encapsulates the varied forms of defining and codifying civics in the Black Girl experience. Employing a feminist critical race and age aware epistemology, we acknowledge that racism, sexism, and age segregation are endemic to society, and therefor civic identity is racialized, gendered, and influenced by the age and national identity of the civic actor. Thus, we forsake notions of objectivity and neutrality in civic spaces (Mackey, 2017). We acknowledge Black people navigate their Blackness or Nigrescence (Cross, 1991) in tandem with their civic identities. Further, we acknowledge that girls and women navigate their gender identities just as residents of nations navigate their citizenship status as they make choices around civic engagement. While grappling with Nigresence, Black girls encounter normative and ahistoric ways of understanding civic identities albeit through an “either or” lens or “objective” perspectives wrapped up in politics of respectability. While not a new phenomena, the socialization of Black identity is often in conflict with dominant discourse about values and civic choices (Ward, 1991). The dominant discourse around Black civic identity can lead one to feel alienated from civics or position one to question their own civic epistemologies. Grappling with one’s civic positions, Blackness, girlhood, and national identity must be explored and brought to the forefront in expanding understandings of contemporary participatory politics (Cohen, 2010, Cohen & Jackson, 2016). There are scholars doing incredible work on Black youth and civics (Ginwright, 2010; Cohen, 2006; Cohen & Jackson, 2016; Baldridge, 2014), and also scholars focused on girls and civics (Jenkins, 2005; Brandtzaeg, 2017; Malin, et. al., 2015), but the intersections of Black Girls and civics have not received adequate attention.

Thus, we invite contributors to share, openly grapple with, and disclose the ways in which Black girls engage with and navigate the spectrum of civics. We invite chapter submissions of all kinds related to the topic of BGC. Here are examples of contemporary movements, debates, and issues that illustrate the kinds of topics that we hope the book will include:
  • Participation by Black girls in new digital media practices and participatory politics online
  • Black girl civic leadership in out-of school spaces
  • Intergenerational models in which Black women support the civic development of Black girls
  • Navigating Black identity development in nexus with civic leadership
  • Black girl leadership in the Black Lives Matter movement
  • The necessity for Black girl specific social movements such as #BlackGirlsMatter and #SayHerName
  • Local and national channels of Black women’s civic leadership development
  • Non-empirical articles such as literary and/or pop culture analysis of Black girl civic related topics (e.g. scholarly analysis of the role of women/girls as political leaders in Black Panther)

  • April 11, 2018: Abstract proposals due (maximum of 500 words)
  • April 11 - 27, 2018: Editors will review abstracts and select 10-12 abstracts for the volume based on fit with the call for proposals, quality of writing, and considerations of how the different topics contribute together in non-duplicative ways to the volume
  • April 27, 2018: Contributors notified of accepted proposals
  • November 30, 2018: Manuscripts due. Chapters should range between 4,000 and 6,000 words
  • February 1, 2019: Manuscripts will be returned to authors with requests for revisions
  • April 1, 2019: Revised manuscripts due
  • May 7, 2019: Manuscripts will be returned to authors with 2nd round of edits, which we expect to be minor at this stage
  • June 1, 2019: Final manuscripts due
  • July 1, 2019: Page proofs given to authors for final review
  • July 15, 2019: Proofs returned to editors
  • July 30, 2019: Pending revisions meet editorial requirements, articles will go into production, with expected release date of January 2020.

Note because of our commitment to publish this book by January 2020, we ask you  to meet these deadlines. We will not be able to include manuscripts that do not meet the deadlines.If you have any questions, send them to: Ginnie Logan