The Journal of American Culture

Cover image for Vol. 40 Issue 3

Edited By: Kathy Merlock Jackson

Online ISSN: 1542-734X

Call for Papers: Special Issues

Submissions are currently being sought for the following special issues

Visions of Black Womanhood in American Culture - Deadline December 31, 2017

Collecting and Collectibles in American Culture - Deadline December 31, 2018

Visions of Black Womanhood in American Culture

It is hard to believe that almost thirty years after Hortense Spillers declared in “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe “that she was a marked woman whose blackness fuels the rhetorical currency of our nation’s cultural treasury,” we are confronted yet again with a new set of womanly profiles in American culture that expose just how invested America is in characterizing the controlling images of black womanhood. Whether it is Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder, Henrietta Lacks in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Beyoncé’ in the L’Oréal commercials, or First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House—we see fragments of the Sapphire or Jezebel of old, the Mammy/Matriarch figures re-engineered, and we are still searching for the outline of black women who, in performing these hyper-visible roles, in excesses of the flesh, speak a simple truth of black female identity that is more complex—indeed richer—than the historical images of eons ago.

We welcome essays on black women from a wide range of disciplinary fields related to American cultural studies, but not limited to media studies, film, art, literature, history, sociology, and music. Possible topics include, black female sexuality, black motherhood, black women’s beauty culture, black colorism in print and visual media, black women’s love relationships, among other topics. These essays should explore the fertile ground between the figurative and the literal bodies of black women—exploring the links between our visual history and culture, and the creative ways black women explore—and have challenged—the weight of coded identities in these histories. The goal is to create a dynamic issue that teases out the contemporary undercurrents and subtleties of a full range of black women’s identities both as a spiritual narrative, and a physical and visual one.

For this issue, we are accepting original scholarly essays, 15-25 pages in length. Please use MLA style using in-text citations with author’s name and page number. Endnotes and works cited should appear at the end of the paper. In light of space limitations, please avoid excessive use of endnotes. This issue will be edited by Carol E. Henderson ( Please direct all questions to her.

The deadline for submission is December 31, 2017. The issue will be published in March 2019.

Collecting and Collectibles in American Culture

Why do we collect things? Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre “insisted that we learn who we are by observing what we own.” Enthusiastic creation or acquisition of an object is key. If a particular item is obtained passively, it may be due to a personal understanding of it or mastery over it. Whether it is accumulating antique dolls or hoarding, the act of collection embodies aspects of the collector’s persona (Frost 47).

We are seeking manuscripts for a special JAC issue exploring the unique activity of collecting and the particular collections of Americans. Topics to consider include, but are not limited to, the psychology of collecting, collections as history, social interaction and collecting, collecting vs. hoarding, altruism and collecting, and the cultural aspects of specific collections (i.e. Beatles memorabilia). Additional areas of research could be the preservation of memories through collections, the “quest” and collecting, and the acquisition and accumulation of wealth through collecting.

Manuscript submissions should be 4000-6000 words in length, double-spaced, and in current MLA format. Send an email attachment, in Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format, to Due to virus and security concerns, we cannot accept zipped or compressed files.

Manuscript deadline: 31 December 2018
Publication date: March 2020

Address inquiries to Lynn Bartholome, English and Philosophy, Monroe Community College,

Authors of manuscripts accepted for publication must subscribe to JAC for at least one year at the time of acceptance. Subscription includes membership in the American Culture Association.

Frost, Randy O. and Gail Steketee. Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2010.