July 12, 2024

William Jelani Cobb & Cynthia Young, editors


W.E.B. DuBois’s 1903 prediction that the problem of the 20th century was “the problem of the color line” defined the next 97 years.  His prophetic words have shadowed the politics and culture of black people throughout the African Diaspora.  Taking this forecast as a departure point, the editors of the anthology 21st Century Black ask writers, scholars and visual artists to project into the future and consider what the state of the race and the state of the very concept of race will be in 2036.

We are living in a time of enormous demographic, technological and political upheaval, and this prompts us to ask what might our collective futures look like? We are interested in pieces that will extrapolate current trends in politics, technology, medicine and healthcare, law, art, diasporan relations, family life to what might be their logical extensions.  We seek both scholarly forecasts and imaginative “future hypotheticals.”  We wish to answer two questions substantively and creatively: Where are we headed? And where might we be in 30 years?

How will the next 30 years shift our understandings of race as new immigrant patterns alter our urban and suburban landscapes, as different minority populations consolidate their political power, and as a new multiracial generation of children emerges and claims distinct identities?  How might these current and projected changes transform U.S. politics and culture?

Topics may include but are not limited to considering the future impact of any of the following:

The HIV/AIDS crisis’s disproportionate effect on peoples of color

The future of public education

Shifts in global labor patterns

The prospects for democracy governments in Africa

Grassroots activism

The “War on Terror”

The further dismantling of the welfare state

The end of affirmative action in employment and education

Inter-ethnic and inter-racial cooperation and conflict

The long-term impact of mass incarceration

Hip Hop at age 60

Growing class disparities among black Americans

The political and social impact of re-migration to the South

We will also consider a limited amount of speculative short fiction (no more than 3000 words) and visual art with futurist themes.

Please submit brief (700 words max) abstracts, c.v., and your contact information to Cynthia Young, Assistant Professor, University of Southern California & William Jelani Cobb, Assistant Professor, Spelman College at [email protected]. For fiction submissions, please send the entire piece.  Visual art should be sent as a jpeg file.


Deadline: 15 December 2004

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Conan Gray
349 days ago