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  • Call for Papers

Black Camera invites submissions for a special issue or section of a future issue devoted to a critical assessment of and about the film Precious and the Novel Push by Sapphire (upon which Precious is based) to be published in Fall 2012.

Almost fifteen years ago, a reviewer described Sapphire’s Push as “a fascinating novel that may well find its place in the African American literary canon.” It has taken years for Push—disturbing, demanding, irrepressibly compelling—to edge appreciably into the canon and to begin to get the attention it deserves. But it has never been more center stage than it is now with the making of the award-winning motion picture Precious. Precious has garnered several accolades, notably Oscars for acting and screenwriting and numerous distinctions for directing.

The editors invite essays from various disciplines and encourage intellectual provocation and arguments that address Precious and Push, either together or separately, from a range of critical, theoretical, political, and aesthetic perspectives. Essays that pivot between and extend beyond the formal frames of both the film and the novel and that stage intertextual and comparative dialogues with related works of film, literature, visual culture, photography, or theory are especially welcome.

Contributions may navigate historical, material, thematic, technical, and theoretical concerns and address questions ranging from acting, directing, editing, and performance, to audience reception, production, marketing, distribution and exhibition. In addition, essays may engage constructions, articulations, and representations of racialized gender, color, class, sexuality, subjection, and transformation in Precious and Push. Some possible areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to, the following: the dialectics and/or intertextualism of film adaptation; canonicity and critical censorship; comparative approaches to Precious and Push that delineate their relation to other projects with which they have been or can be aligned (The Color Purple, for example, is mentioned several times in Push as are several singers—Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Al B. Sure, Bobby Brown); psychoanalytic dimensions of Precious and Push; semiotics, suturing, and memory; analogization—visual and aural; abstraction and the fantastic; the aesthetics of cinematography and musical scoring; [End Page 3] set construction; critical accounts of sexual and psychic trauma; the temporality and the cinematic temporalization of trauma; trauma’s cinematic configurations; incest; sexual violence by males and females; black female subjectivities; motherhood; mental health; melancholia; displacement and dispossession; rape; rage; redemption; redress, resilience; hope; imagination; constructions and representations of lesbian and queer identities and desire; homophobia and heterosexism; whiteness; poverty; literacy and language; the government, the welfare state, and black female bodies; the management of black female reproduction; HIV and AIDS in the 1980s and the present; death and dying—social and somatic; corporeality and embodiment; spirit murder; translation and interiority; Harlem and New York City as ideas and geographical sites in Precious and Push; Harlem and cinematic spatialization; sonic scapes and the sounds of Harlem; the political economy of the processes of film production, marketing, and distribution; political economy as it relates thematically to Precious and Push; online interpretive communities—sites of print-and video-based discussions of Precious and/or Push; the visual politics and aesthetics of the film’s posters.

Essays, book and film reviews, interviews, and commentaries will be considered. Essays should be 6,000–10,000 words, interviews 6,000 words, commentaries 1,000–2,000 words, and film reviews of Precious and book reviews of Push should be 500–1,500 words.

Please submit completed essays, a 100-word abstract, a fifty-word biography, and a CV by October 25, 2011. Submissions should conform to The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition. Please see journal guidelines for more on submission policy:

Direct all questions, correspondence, and submissions to guest editors Suzette Spencer (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Carlos Miranda (Yale University) at [End Page 4]



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