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Call for papers


Imagine you have the power to revolutionize graduate education in Africana religions.

Now, share that vision with the world…

The Journal of Africana Religions invites articles of 8,000 words and round table comments of 3,000 words that offer new, exciting ideas for how graduate students should be trained in Africana religions.

The global study Africana religions has been relegated to the margins of religious studies. There are few opportunities for graduate study and even fewer jobs. In the United States, the study of Black religion is often focused mainly, if not exclusively on African Americans in the United States; very few scholars use languages other than English in their research. In Europe and in some parts of Africa, the study of Africana religions often takes place under the rubric of Christianity, foregrounding a theological and confessional approach to Africana religions. These are just some of the challenges standing in the way of expanding the reach and impact of Africana religious studies.

Among the questions that you should consider answering in your essay: How would you design a new graduate education from scratch in your region or country? What classes would you offer? What qualifying exams would you require? What languages would you require? What research methods would you teach? What books must be read? How would you find sources of funding? How would you convince colleagues to increase the number of jobs devoted to Africana religions? How would you work with community partners and others to make this education relevant and impactful? Feel free to include the kinds of specific ideas that go into the making of real graduate program proposals. Tables and lists are welcome as part of your essay. 

Full-length articles of 8,000 words, which will be peer-reviewed, and round table comments of 3,000 words, which are reviewed only by the editors, are welcome right now; the deadline is May 1, 2020. Here is the link for submission:


Questions may be sent to journal@africanareligions.org.


The journal invites 150-word proposals for a special issue on “The Policing and Persecution of African Indigenous and African Diasporic Religions.” Proposals are due by Sept. 30, 2019, to journal@africanareligions.org.  Final articles of 8,000 words or review essays of 5,000 words are due by August 31, 2020 (not 2019). All submissions will be peer-reviewed.

African and African-derived religions such as Vodun, Candomblé, Orisha devotion, and Lukumí are policed and persecuted across the Black Atlantic world. These Africana religions often draw far more attention in American and European popular consumer culture, anti-cult discourses, and sensational media exposés than they do in carefully curated, analytical spaces of scholarship.

This special issue is devoted to exploring the policing and persecution of indigenous Africana religions–also known as African traditional religions, among other imperfect labels–as a powerful analytic for understanding modern and contemporary politics, society, and culture. Adopting a translocal approach, we invite authors to consider multiple locations, periods, and contexts.

Among the many questions that authors might ask:

1. Taking a comparative literary approach, how have modern and contemporary fiction, poetry, memoir, and other genres contributed to the policing and persecution of Africana religions?

2. How have lawmaking and jurisprudence in multiple countries regulated, supported, or persecuted the practice of Africana religions?

3. What forms of surveillance, harassment, and violence have characterized the policing of Africana religions across the Black Atlantic?

4. How is the policing of gender and/or sexuality tied to the persecution of Africana religions in multiple locales?

5. What is the meaning and significance of Africana religions as a foil against which racialized and colonial modernity has been imagined, embodied, and governed?

6. How have African and African diasporic Christianity and Islam adopted and adapted African-derived spiritual technologies and aesthetics from spirit possession to call-and-response while still seeking to reform or eliminate independent religious communities devoted to Africana epistemologies and doctrines?

7. What are the economics and/or geopolitics of the policing and persecution of Africana religions?

8. How does the persecution of Africana religions challenge, reify, or construct racialization, nationalism, or ethnic solidarity in multiple locales?

9. What is the impact of commodification on Africana religions?

10. What historical trends or institutional practices have shaped the policing, repression, or persecution of African or African-derived religions since the 1400s?

11. How have neo-charismatic forms of Christianity shaped the precarity of indigenous African religions in contemporary African societies?

12. How does engagement with the persecution of African-derived religions complicate the way scholars should theorize the racialization of religion?