Nka: Journal of Contemporary Art, volume 42–43, a double issue of the scholarly journal dedicated to the theme of Global Black Consciousness, was awarded runner-up for Best Special Issue by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals this past January.
Under the coeditorship of Salah M. Hassan and Margo Natalie Crawford, this issue of Nka examines intersections of visual art, literature, film, and other cultural productions alongside the crosscurrents that shaped the transnational flow of black consciousness, particularly the precursors and legacies of the 1960s and 1970s black freedom struggles and the works of individual African and African diaspora intellectuals and artists. Enriching the documentary depth of this collection, three photographic/visual essays illuminate the historic Pan-African festivals and their manifestations of global black consciousness and implications for Pan-African aesthetics.
As a comprehensive collection, this issue of Nka advances scholarship on the African diaspora by theorizing and conceptualizing the problem and promise of mobilizing “blackness.” It stands as a testament to the ongoing research and scholarship on archives and theories that make global black consciousness most legible, even when such consciousness remains the work of illegible resistance, aesthetics, and solidarity-building. Endeavors such as these become even more urgent as the world witnesses the resurgence of colonial and nationalistic violence in the form of neoliberal policies that kill, starve, and subjugate people of color in Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America, and the Middle East.
These ongoing crises, nevertheless, have also resulted in the rise of new resistance movements, such as Black Lives Matter in the United States, which parallel worldwide antiglobalization, antiracist, and environmental platforms that necessitate a new type of counter-hegemonic politics of solidarity. In solidarity with such efforts, this issue of Nka recognizes the practice of global black consciousness as unfinished work, and as an expanding field of humanistic inquiry.