[SIGCIS-Members] CFP of possible interest: Blackness @ Play: Communities, Culture, Creativity

Racquel M Gonzales racquelg at uci.edu
Tue Aug 4 17:36:45 PDT 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Wanted to share a special issue call that might be of interest for those
researching Black gamers/gaming and histories of Black figures in
computer/VG play histories:


*Call for Papers: Blackness @ Play: Communities, Culture, Creativity*

Special Issue of the *American Journal of Play*

Guest Editor: TreaAndrea M. Russworm, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


300-word abstract: September 15, 2020

Full papers, if accepted:

December 31, 2020 (articles 6,500 to 8,000 words; other works vary in

Queries and submission: russworm at umass.edu  <russworm at umass.edu>

Psychologists, educators, cultural theorists, and activists have
long-argued that play and playfulness are essential tools of everyday
survival that open up pathways for cognition, creativity, criticality, and
collective joy. For example, writing in 1897 W.E.B. Du Bois posited that
although amusement and play were not commonly framed as central to Black
health and wellness, “at all times and in all places, the manner, method,
and extent of a people’s recreation is of vast importance to their
welfare.” The idea of a Black “people’s recreation”—of “recreation for the
people”—remains full of potential. Despite this potential, nearly 125 years
later scholarly discussions of play in Black communities remains
underemphasized, just as play scholarship and theories of play have been
plagued by practices of exclusion and racial bias. The politics of play
remain real and widespread, as American police have shot and killed Black
children who were playing; viral videos have spread on social media
of Black pool parties and birthdays interrupted by gatekeeping neighbors
making 9-1-1 calls; in schools, where Black children have been detained
during playtimes like recess, play can been seen as a luxury of whiteness;
Black adults are often harassed and actively excluded from mainstream fan
communities and other adult play spaces.

Surely, *who *plays and *what *constitutes play has always been political,
contested, and ever-connected to what Saidiya Hartman calls “the afterlife
of slavery.” And yet, the ingenuity of Black people at play has always
evinced a resiliency that includes but also stretches beyond lived
experiences with state-sanctioned violence and racism. This special issue
of the *American Journal of Play* seeks essays, interviews, and other
creative and scholarly perspectives on past, present, and emerging examples
of the intersections between Black culture and play. Just as the forms,
methods, and tools of Black play are infinite, so too is the state of
blackness at play expansive. As such, we seek a range of works that depict
and explore the dynamic nature of Black people at play—from Kenneth and
Mamie Clark’s doll studies, linguistic play, double dutch, and histories of
playing the dozens, to DJ D-Nice’s Club Quarantine dance parties, *Black
Panther* Cosplay, Black gaming enclaves, and the playful and critical
interventions of Black digital content creators.

We welcome a wide range of thought-provoking and timely material on play in
Black culture from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.
Possible topic areas might include:

   - the politics and intersections of “playing while Black”
   - oral folklore and word play traditions (hip-hop, rap, rhyme games,
   slam poetry, jokes,)
   - film, television, and other media representations of Black play
   - new critical perspectives
   on the Doll Test and Black childhood play development
   - science fiction, Afrofuturism, and worldmaking
   - digital play communities (gamers, streamers, Black
   Twitter, gifs/meme culture, etc.)
   - cosplayers, LARPers, and other crossover forms of Black child/adult
   - Black players of board games, table-top games, and roleplaying games
   like D&D
   - Black toy makers; Black memorabilia collectors of toys, dolls, board
   and card games, video games, and other playthings

For special issue consideration, please submit 300-word abstracts to
russworm at umass.edu  <russworm at umass.edu>no later than *September 15, 2020*. We
remain mindful of the complicated ways in which COVID-19, anti-Black
racism, and civil disobedience may impact potential contributors. We
encourage interested scholars requiring additional time or accommodations
due to these factors to contact the guest editor for this issue before the

The *American Journal of Play*, the oldest peer-reviewed journal devoted
to play, is written in a straightforward style for a wide readership of
game and play scholars, educators, policy makers, museum and industry
professionals, public health workers, and others who strive to understand
the impact and importance of play in the world.

Find out more at www.journalofplay.org.

Style guidelines can be found at www.journalofplay.org/authors/style-guide


Racquel M. Gonzales, Ph.D.


Research Historian

Assistant Editor, *American Journal of Play*

*The Strong*
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