liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies

6, no. 1, Spring 2022 (Duke University Press, beginning Spring 2021)

About liquid blackness

  • liquid blackness is an open-access journal, which means that all content is freely available without charge to readers or their institutions.
  • Our Editorial and Advisory Boards

Mission Statement

The liquid blackness journal seeks to carve out a place for aesthetic theory and the most radical agenda of Black Studies to come together in productive ways, with a double goal: to fully attend to the aesthetic work of blackness and to the political work of form. In this way, the journal strives to develop innovative approaches and analytic tools to address points of convergence between the exigencies of black life and the many slippery ways in which blackness is encountered in contemporary sonic and visual culture.

liquid blackness aims to establish a point of exchange at the intersection of multiple fields. The history of this intentionally undisciplined space is best understood through a series of questions pivoting around (1) the relationship between aesthetics and the ontology of blackness and (2) the generative potential of blackness as an aesthetic. If blackness is, as we argue after Fred Moten, an unregulated generative force, then the liquid blackness journal seeks to offer a dedicated space where it can be consistently unleashed. As we extend and confront lines of inquiry from a number of research fields, our approach is equally concerned with theoretical content, analytical methods, and scholarly praxis.

The Editorial Board has planned the first three themed (and foundational) issues, on the following concepts:

  • “liquidity” – Vol 5 no. 1 – Spring 2021
  • “blackness” – Vol 5 no. 2 – Fall 2021
  • “aesthetics” – Vol 6 no. 1 – Spring 2022

After two foundational issues devoted to “liquidity” and “blackness,” we now turn to our third concept, “aesthetics,” to explore its radical potential for Black Studies. We are inspired by Fred Moten’s posing of black aesthetic sociality as a problem for ontology, and appositional to epistemology and phenomenology. Moten’s insistence on the irreducible vitality of black sociality has been both inspirational and aspirational to the theoretical foundation, the ethics, and the praxis that sustain this journal. His aesthetic thinking and practice—we hesitate to call it a “theory”—unravels in a multitude of ways throughout his long career as poet, theorist, philosopher, art critic, and through his engagement with an extraordinarily rich, varied, and unruly archive.

Inspired by this capacious model of practice and the ways Moten’s work radically upends traditional distinctions between ontology, phenomenology, epistemology, and aesthetics, we offer below some concepts that have appeared in his recent trilogy “consent not to be a single being” to invite contributions that engage with, and might enrich, the theoretical, methodological, and artistic archives mobilized in Moten’s work, or, conversely express skepticism and offer criticism.

We take this opportunity to explore the expansive possibilities of “aesthetic thinking” broadly conceived, and investigate who can do theory (scholars, artists, activists…), how theory can be done (in image, writing, archiving, curating, social activism…), and what a Black aesthetic object is (“high”/“low” art, sound and image, practice and praxis, the work of individual artists and ensembles…).

practice/praxis

  • black study
  • nonperformance
  • fugitivity
  • being sent

hermeneutics

  • blur
  • chromatic saturation
  • black aurality
  • poetics of passage
  • knowledge of freedom
  • ensemble
  • form and informality

modes/tools of aesthetic thinking

  • anaoriginarity
  • thingliness and no-thingness
  • black cinematic apparatus and phonographic mise-en-scene
  • production, reproduction, and value
  • dematerialization, rematerialization, animateriality
  • the paraontological
  • dehiscence
  • black ops/Afro-optimism

Essays of no more than 4,000 – 5,000 words with accompanying images, and/or video or sound clip, should be submitted to journalsubmissions@liquidblackness.com by October 1.

Author Guidelines & Submission Information

  • liquid blackness follows the formatting and reference guidelines stipulated by The Chicago Manual of Style
  • We welcome submissions of visual and textual art, video, and other artistic work accompanied by an artist statement
  • All submissions, solicited and unsolicited, will be peer-reviewed