CFP: Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology on "Hacking the Black/White Binary"

Call for Papers

Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology

Issue 5: Hacking the Black/White Binary

Edited by Brittney Cooper (Rutgers) and Margaret Rhee (UC-Berkeley)

"For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change." - Audre Lorde

This special issue of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology will bring together ongoing conversations in critical race theory, women of color feminisms, queer studies, new media studies, and the digital humanities to interrogate the persistence of binaristic Black/White paradigms in U.S. racialization. The Black/White binary is a racial hierarchy historically utilized to uphold anti-Black racism. While the binary may be theoretically useful in highlighting continued racialized violence on African American and Black diasporic communities within the U.S., this Black/White binary frame also potentially obscures multiple structural logics of hegemonic power. For example, the Black/White binary does not adequately conceptualize or theorize women of color solidarity and movement building and the racialized experiences of Latinos, Asian-Americans, and Indigenous and Native Peoples. Nevertheless, Indigenous and feminist scholar Andrea Smith cautions us not to adopt the language of moving “beyond” the Black/White binary. This language of moving "beyond," Smith argues, fails to recognize the centrality of the Black/White binary and other binary logics such as Orientalism and settler colonialism in the structures of U.S. white supremacy.

Comparative approaches to racialization, like those undertaken in the work of scholars like Roderick Ferguson, Grace Hong, and David Theo Goldberg, compellingly illuminate how racism is central to the logics of the U.S. nation state. Additionally, scholars working in new media studies such as Lisa Nakamura, Micha Cárdenas, Kara Keeling, and Tara McPherson provide critical formulations for understanding race, gender, and queerness in our digital age. We seek not to move "beyond" the Black/White binary. We seek to bridge the theoretical and creative interventions in racial theory and new media studies by convening digital feminists of color.

Hacking the Black/White Binary while recognizing its continuing effects is critical. In light of persistent anti-Black racism and violence, how do we hold central our struggles against anti-Black and comparative racial oppressions in the U.S. while "hacking" the Black/White binary? How do we transform our understanding of race in our "post-racial," post-digital world? In short, can we "hack" the power structures of white supremacy, and how might women of color feminisms, and all their digital tools, inform this endeavor?

Hack (Oxford English Dictionary)

1.  cut with rough or heavy blows.

2. use a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system.

New media theorists Beth Coleman and Wendy Chun argue race can be thought of as tool. Articulating techne to race, we appropriate the term "hack” -- hack in the utilization of the digital for feminist gain, and hack, as the theoretical "cut," as theorized by Fred Moten. The ideological concept of race has violently produced physical pain, and untimely deaths to bodies of color. We build upon this formulation of race as tool and "hacking the binary" to ask how feminist of color critique utilizes, reshapes, and creates new technologies to combat the dehumanizing effects of racism in our digital age. As Audre Lorde wrote in the epigraph above, "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House." Lorde calls for tools that create genuine change. At the core of our special issue is the insistence on "genuine change." In the shadow of increasing racial violence in our "post-racial" state, we urge for new imaginings, formulations, and tools to make new houses and hack the binary.

We invite contributors--artists, scholars, and activists--to explore the concept of "Hacking the Black/White Binary" through a feminist lens. In addition to unpublished traditional scholarly articles, we invite collaborative, digital, and multi-modal approaches that can benefit from the journal's open access online status. We also invite creative contributions (interviews, short features, videos) to an online gallery, which will be published alongside the journal issue, and will exhibit digital projects that "hack" the Black/White binary in anti-racist and feminist ways.

Topics and approaches might include, but are not limited to:

·      The Possibilities and Limitations of the Black-White Binary in Online Feminism and Beyond

·      Categories of "Women of Color" and "People of Color"

·      Racial Triangulation

·      Cross-racial Alliances in Digital Feminism

·      Social Media Approaches to Race and Gender

·      Intersectionality

·      Online Feminism as Hacker or Harbinger of White Supremacy

·      Feminist Epistemology and Raced Gendered Subjects

·      Creative Hacks that Emerge from POC communities

·      Queer of Color Critique and Critical Race Theory in Our Digital Age

·      Hacking

·      The Digital Divide

·      Creative Digital Solution-Making Among People of Color and in Relationship to Gender and Sexual Violence, Reproductive justice, Prison Industrial Complex, Empire, and other social justice issues

Please send essays (max. 3000 words) to bcc63[at]scarletmail[dot]utgers[dot]edu and mrhee[at]berkeley[dot]edu by 1 August 2014 for consideration. Contributions in formats other than the traditional essay are encouraged; please contact the editors to discuss specifications and/or multimodal contributions. Please send questions and queries to bcc63[at]scarletmail[dot]utgers[dot]edu and mrhee[at]berkeley[dot]edu. For more information, please check Ada submission guidelines here.

Peer Review and Ada

Ada is an online, open access, open source peer reviewed journal. The journal’s first issue was published online in November 2012 and has so far received more than 125,000 page views. All work published in Ada will go through four rounds of review: Pre-Review, Expert Review, Community Review and Public Review. More on the Ada Review policy here.


●      August 1, 2014: Essays due

●      August 11, 2014: First round of essays accepted, sent for Level 1 Review (expert peer review)

●      September 1, 2014: Second round of essays sent for Level 2 Review (Fembot community review)

●      October 1, 2014: Issue published to general public.
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