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Call for Papers: Special JWIL April 2022 Issue on Kamau Brathwaite

Engaging Kamau Brathwaite:

This special issue of the Journal of West Indian Literature seeks papers and reflections on the work of Kamau Brathwaite, situating the writer/poet/scholar and his work within the canons of Caribbean, American, African-American, and/or postcolonial literature. In particular, we are interested in contributions that consider how, and why, we can/should/do engage Brathwaite’s work in our writing, research, and teaching today, a half-century after his first major publication.

With significant ties to Barbados, Jamaica, England, and Ghana, Kamau Brathwaite represents a truly transnational intellectual, though it may be argued that the Caribbean region was always the center – the groundation – of his thought processes. He has made major contributions across several fields and disciplines with his creative and critical writings, as well as his organizational, pedagogical, and editorial work. Thus, Brathwaite and his work may be engaged on/from multiple dimensions as relevant to contemporary conversations about race, region, rhythm, and representation. This special issue seeks to present that range of relevance to scholarship, service, and teaching today. We are open to scholarly papers and reflections that position Brathwaite’s work(s) as frame and/or focus for a central argument. We are especially interested in submissions that consider:

– Brathwaite’s less studied texts,

– his work as an editor and teacher,

– his influence on later generations of Caribbean writers, and/or

– approaches to teaching his writings.

While the Journal of West Indian Literature focuses primarily on literary topics, given Brathwaite’s own mixed methodologies, this special issue will necessarily include interdisciplinary engagements with his work.

Prospective contributors should email 300-500 word abstracts, along with a short bio, by 1 April 2021. Responses to abstract submissions will be sent by 1 May 2021 and final versions of accepted papers will be due 1 September 2021. Please send abstracts and all inquiries to Kelly Baker Josephs (

Deadline for abstracts and bio: 1 April 2021

Full papers due: 1 September 2021

Publication: April 2022

About the special issue editor: Kelly Baker Josephs is Professor of English at York College, City University of New York, and Professor of English and digital humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the author of Disturbers of the Peace: Representations of Insanity in Anglophone Caribbean Literature (2013) and co-editor of the forthcoming collection, The Digital Black Atlantic, part of the Debates in the Digital Humanities series.