CFP: Africana Sacred Healing Arts Conference

CFP: Africana Sacred Healing Arts Conference

The ISM invites proposals for paperspresentations, and artistic performances on Africana sacred healing arts that address topics including but not limited to:

  • Expanding definitions of the healing arts, illness, and unwellness
  • Arts of healing and baptism/initiation
  • Arts of healing and mortuary rites
  • Healing as experienced transnationally and in the digital world
  • Healing arts and the senses (inclusive of extra-sensory modes)
  • Therapeutic arts of music, dance, and performance
  • Medicine, materiality, and the arts
  • Relationships between healing, religion, and the medical sciences
  • The various identities of healers

NOTE: Accepted presenters and performers in attendance will receive an allowance to help defray  the cost of travel to New Haven. In addition, they will be provided hotel accommodations and several meals at the conference.


Abstracts for organized panels as well as individual papers from faculty, advanced graduate students,  and scholars working outside the academy are welcome. Abstracts should be approximately 300 words in length. Individual papers and presentations will be 20 minutes, and organized panels can include 3–4 presenters (each for 20 minutes). 

Alternative—and potentially longer—formats such as artistic performances are welcome, and those interested in this mode should describe aspects of format, staging needs, and length in a short abstract. Performers’ abstracts can contain one URL for a multimedia supplement directly related to the presentation.

At this time, we are planning for a hybrid conference that would include both in-person and virtual presentations.

How to submit abstracts

All abstracts should be submitted by September 15, 2021 at is external). (You will be prompted to open a free account with Submittable before submitting an abstract.)

Proposals for panels should be submitted as a single PDF containing the panel title and all abstracts. 

Be prepared to include the following information when submitting an individual or panel abstract:



150-word bio or personal narrative
Paper or panel title
Paper or panel abstract(s)
Accessibility requests (if applicable)—Accessibility at Yale

Any questions about the conference or abstract submission can be sent to sends e-mail).


September 15, 2021 | Abstracts due

November 15, 2021 | Announcement of decisions for submissions

December 1, 2021 | Conference registration opens (for general audience)

February 1, 2022 | Schedule announced

Program Committee

Kyrah Malika Daniels, Boston College

Steven Friedson, University of North Texas

Dorothea Schulz, University of Münster

Khalia J. Williams, Emory University

Nia Campinha-Bacote, Yale University

Advance Notice of Second Conference

In spring 2023, the Yale ISM’s second conference in this series will convene scholars and artists to explore the connections between ritual transformations of consciousness and Africana sacred arts. The conference will highlight research from multi-religious perspectives and disparate geographies in the Black Atlantic that study trance, ritual possession, ecstatic religion, conjuring, emotional intensification, divination, among other practices, as well as their instruments and representation in expressive cultures. The interdisciplinary conversations we hope will emerge from this conference might discover underexplored links in forms of ritual transformation via sonic, visual, and other sensoria that cut across religious, geographic, or social/psychic categories throughout the Black Atlantic and beyond.

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