CFP: Africana Religions and Contemplation

CFP: Africana Religions and Contemplation

The Journal of Contemplative Studies (JCS) is a peer-reviewed academic open access digital journal published by the Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia. The journal publishes original research and scholarship on issues and topics related to the world’s contemplative practice traditions.

The upcoming special issue, Contemplation in Africana Traditions, co-edited by Oludamini Ogunnaike, Georgette Mulunda Ledgister, and Funlayo E. Wood invited submissions that center the intersections of Africana traditions and contemplation.

The African continent and diaspora have a rich heritage and strong contemporary practice of contemplative traditions, many of which have historically been excluded from understandings of “contemplation,” as a result of this category’s European Christian origins and more recent Euro-American Buddhist influence. 

Africana traditions offer an opportunity to broaden the concept of contemplation, which often centers silence and stillness, by considering how practitioners create spaces that may be, at once, alive with movement and sound and deeply contemplative. Africana traditions of contemplation often emphasize the suspension of time in which the divine and the human intersect in ritual that is paradoxically and necessarily both timeless and time-bound; ritual that unites and transcends past, present, and future. 

Africana practices like divination, prayer circles, spirit possession, and communal mourning, to name a few, tap into the core aims of contemplation–direct communion with the sacred and/or being–while, at the same time, remaining profoundly practical, providing pathways for better living. 

This issue will highlight the various forms and functions of contemplation within Africana traditions and invites papers on topics including but not limited to:

– Prayer and meditation within Africana traditions

– Movement, song, and art as contemplative practices

– Trance, spirit possession and the body in Africana contemplative ritual

– Wake, watches, and wailing as practices of contemplative mourning in Africana and Black religious experience

– The process and the practice of ritual contemplation in the Africana lifeworld 

– Ecologies of contemplation: the role of nature, the human and the divine in ritual contemplation 

– Coding Contemplation: Africana religions in digital spaces

Papers must be previously unpublished, not under consideration elsewhere, and adhere to the specifications outlined in the JCS Manuscript Preparation Guide

If you are interested in submitting, please fill out this Intent to Submit form to signify your your intention to submit a paper and be kept up to date with the issue’s progress. Completed drafts are requested by December 15 and should be submitted here. Download a printable version of this call for papers here.

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