Since its first appearance in 2013, Black Lives Matter (BLM) has become a widespread social movement dedicated to denouncing and dismantling systemic racism in the United States. As the hashtag #BLM went viral on social and other media, a broad political coalition on the international front was developing, aiming to identify and condemn police violence against young Afro-Americans, and, more generally, the persistent racism targeting black and ethnic minorities of colour in the United States. (Célestine & Martin-Breteau 2020; Recoquillon 2020; Taylor 2016).
The commitment of activists and those supporting Black Lives Matter and the Movement of Black Lives (M4BL) has led to frequent discussion by political commentators and social scientists of the aims of these movements, their political objectives, their identities and personal motivations, their agendas and modes of action, their political and social influence etc.
While under Donald Trump’s presidency BLM found itself in a much more hostile environment than during Barack Obama’s second term, its campaigns were to take on a new dimension, not only in the United States but well beyond its borders, particularly as a consequence of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020. Across the Americas, in Europe, and also in Asia and Oceania, numerous demonstrations in support of BLM were organised and followed up, despite the prevailing pandemic (De Genova 2018; Geia 2020; Kennedy-MacFoy & Zarkov 2020; Zaveri 2020).
The aim of this special number is therefore to bring together articles analysing the growth of BLM to a transnational movement. Defence of black lives and the struggle against anti-black racism outside the United States existed long before the emergence of BLM; the transnational dimension of movements in favour of black and other populations discriminated against can thus be seen as part of a long-term development (Niang 2020; Smith 2017; Hajjat 2014; Pregnolato 2017). Moreover the movement has given new impetus to old campaigns in Brazil, Canada, Great Britain and France, with the support of the action initiated by the family of Adama Traoré (Davis & Traoré). In 2015 BLM helped to call attention to a draft bill which posed a threat to the citizenship of people of Haitian origin in the Dominican Republic Baptiste 2015). In October 2020 BLM activists across the world demonstrated in support of young people protesting against police violence in Nigeria (Ojedokun et al. 2021), rallying under one of the emblematic slogans of BLM: ‘Stop killing us’.
It is intended that the transnational outlook of this number should embrace analysis of movements inspired by BLM beyond the frontiers of the United States, taking their many different local roots into account (Siméant). Such campaigns are not simply reactions to the legitimate emotions stirred up by media coverage of the many cases of police violence against black people in the United States. Following different timelines, they also belong to the specific contexts of earlier campaigns, and to mappings of meaning and practice which have been able, thanks to the BLM movement and/or the demonstrations of summer 2020, to find fertile soil and a language to launch themselves afresh. Accordingly, the challenges faced by these campaigns may lead them to favour structures, strategies and spokespersons —often women in BLM —sometimes different from, sometimes similar to, those adopted by the movement in the United States.
In other words, this call is for papers addressing one or several of the following themes with the aim of investigating the transnational nature of BLM:
- the transnational circulation of BLM, including the study of the political, media and scientific networks and exchanges between activists and supporters or opponents of the movement inside the United States and those situated beyond its borders.
- the local appropriation of BLM’s political demands, militant vocabulary and means of action, with analysis of the ways in which the movement is reconfigured by local actors—rather than simply being exported from the United States or imported wholesale—but also analysis of the adaptation of BLM to local conditions by pre-existing social movements, parties and political organizations, trade unions, student unions etc.
- the political repercussions of BLM for popular movements, public policies, media discourse, scientific research etc. in the country, region or group under study.
Contributions are invited from across the human and social sciences (HSS); they should show awareness of the concrete modes of circulation and appropriation, and to the repercussions of campaigns linked to BLM, but also of the historical and political ruptures and continuities implied and explained by them. Contributions bearing on the role of new information and communications technologies (NITC) and social networks, especially in the spreading of images (videos of police violence, artworks etc), and their role in the transnational development of the movement will be given close attention (Cox 2017; Ince et al. 2017; Schneider 2017).
Guidelines for submissions
Short summaries of proposed articles (500-800 words) must be sent
by 1 July 2021
to firstname.lastname@example.org. The articles themselves (maximum of 45,000 characters, inclusive of spaces and bibliography), which may be in French, English, Spanish or Portuguese, must be submitted by 1 October 2021. They should be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 3,600 characters. Comprehensive guidance for authors is accessible here.
The editorial committee will announce its decisions on 5 November 2021. The articles which have been selected will be published in the journal Esclavages & post~esclavages in April 2022.
BAPTISTE, Nathalie, 2015. « Black Lives Matter: responding to the Dominican Deportation Crisis », The American Prospect, 26 June. Available online: https://prospect.org/world/black-lives-matter-responding-dominican-deportation-crisis/.
CÉLESTINE, Audrey & Nicolas MARTIN-BRETEAU, 2020. « “Stop killing us”: Mobilizing against structural racism in the United States from Black Lives Matter to the Movement for Black Lives », in François Vergniolle de Chantal (ed.), Obama’s Fractured Legacy: The Politics and Policies of an Embattled Presidency, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 289-313.
COX, Jonathan M., 2017. « The source of a movement: making the case for social media as an informational source using Black Lives Matter », Ethnic and Racial Studies, No. 40/11, pp. 1847-1854.
DAVIS, Angela & Assa TRAORÉ, 2020. « Angela Davis et Assa Traoré : regards croisés », Ballast, 27 May. Available online: https://www.revue-ballast.fr/angela-davis-et-assa-traore-regards-croises/.
DE GENOVA, Nicholas, 2018. « The “Migrant Crisis” as Racial Crisis: Do Black Lives Matter in Europe? », Ethnic and Racial Studies, No. 41/10, pp. 1765-1782.
GEIA, Lynore et al. 2020. « A unified call to action from Australian nursing and midwifery leaders: ensuring that Black lives matter », Contemporary Nurse, No. 56/4, pp. 297-308.
HAJJAT, Abdellali, 2014. « Rébellions urbaines et déviances policières. Les “jeunes” des Minguettes face à la police (1981-1983) », Cultures & Conflits, No. 93, pp. 11-34.
INCE, Jelani, Fabio ROJAS & Clayton A. DAVIS, 2017. « The social media response to Black Lives Matter: How Twitter users interact with Black Lives Matter through hashtag use », Ethnic and racial studies, No. 40/11, pp. 1814-1830.
KENNEDY-MACFOY, Madeleine & Dubravka ZARKOV, 2020. « Black Lives Matter in Europe–EJWS special open forum: Introduction », European Journal of Women’s Studies, 1350506820984691.
MAYORGA, Edwin & Bree PICOWER, 2018. « Active solidarity: Centering the demands and vision of the Black Lives Matter movement in teacher education », Urban Education, No. 53/2, pp. 212-230.
NIANG, Mame-Fatou, 2020. « Des particularités françaises de la négrophobie », in Omar Slaouti (ed.), Racismes de France, Paris, La Découverte, pp. 151-169.
OJEDOKUN, Usman A. et al., 2021. « Mass mobilization for police accountability: The case of Nigeria’s #EndSARS protest », Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice.
PREGNOLATO, Anthony, 2017. « L’espace des mobilisations contre les violences des forces de l’ordre en France depuis les années 1990 », Mouvements, No. 4, pp. 38-47.
SCHNEIDER, Nicole Anna, 2017. « Black Protest on the Streets: Visual Activism and the Aesthetic Politics of Black Lives Matter », Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, No. 18/1.
SIMÉANT, Johanna, 2010. « La transnationalisation de l’action collective », Penser les mouvements sociaux, Paris, La Découverte, pp. 121-144.
SMITH, Christen A., 2017. « Battling Anti-Black Genocide in Brazil: For over a decade, antiracist movements in Brazil have sought justice for the killing of Black Brazilians by state forces », NACLA Report on the Americas, No. 49/1, pp. 41-47.
RECOQUILLON, Charlotte, 2020. « “Black lives matter”: mobilisation politique des Noir·e·s contre le racisme systémique dans l’Amérique d’Obama », Géographie et Cultures, No. 114, pp. 133-155.
TAYLOR, Keeanga-Yamahtta, 2016. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation: Racism & Civil Rights, Chicago, Haymarket.
ZAVERI, Mihir, 2020. « BTS Fans Say They’ve Raised $1 Million for Black Lives Matter Groups », The New York Times, 8 june. Available online: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/08/arts/music/bts-donate-black-lives-matter.html.
Editorial team of the journal
Editors in chief
- Myriam Cottias (CNRS) & Céline Flory (CNRS)
- António de Almeida Mendes (université de Nantes)
- Cédric Audebert (CNRS)
- Magali Bessone (université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne)
- Gaetano Ciarcia (CNRS)
- Elisabeth Cunin (IRD)
- Ary Gordien (université Paris 8)
- Martha Jones (Johns Hopkins University)
- Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec (université de Sherbrooke)
- Beatriz Mamigonian (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina)
- Nicolas Martin-Breteau (université de Lille, CECILLE, France)
- Hebe Mattos (Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora)
- Lotte Pelckmans (université de Copenhague)
- Dominique Rogers (université des Antilles)
- Anna Seiderer (université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis)
- Alessandro Stanziani (CNRS / EHESS)
- Ibrahima Thioub (université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar)
- Ana Lucia Araujo (université d’Howard, EU)
- Mads Anders Baggesgaard (université d’Aarhus, Danemark)
- Gwyn Campbell (Mac Gill University, Montréal, Canada)
- Mariana Candido (University of Notre-Dame, EU)
- Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch (université Paris 7 Denis-Diderot)
- Madeleine Dobie (Columbia University, EU)
- Roquinaldo Ferreira (Brown University, EU)
- Alejandro de la Fuente (Harvard University, EU)
- Chouki El Hamed University of Arizona, EU)
- Aline Helg (université de Genève, Suisse)
- Paulin J. Hountondji (université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin)
- Martin Klein (University of Toronto, Canada)Jane Landers (Vanderbilt University, EU)
- Paul Lovejoy (York University, Canada)
- Joel Quirk (université de Witwatersrand, Afrique du Sud)
- Benedetta Rossi (University of Birmingham, Grande-Bretagne)
- Dale Tomich (University of Binghamton, EU)
- Michael Zeuske (université de Leipzig, Allemagne)
- Chloé Beaucamp (CNRS)