Contemporary African American Literature
The Living Canon
Publication Year: 2013
In this volume, Lovalerie King and Shirley Moody-Turner have compiled a collection of essays that offer access to some of the most innovative contemporary black fiction while addressing important issues in current African American literary studies. Distinguished scholars Houston Baker, Trudier Harris, Darryl Dickson-Carr, and Maryemma Graham join writers and younger scholars to explore the work of Toni Morrison, Edward P. Jones, Trey Ellis, Paul Beatty, Mat Johnson, Kyle Baker, Danzy Senna, Nikki Turner, and many others. The collection is bracketed by a foreword by novelist and graphic artist Mat Johnson, one of the most exciting and innovative contemporary African American writers, and an afterword by Alice Randall, author of the controversial parody The Wind Done Gone. Together, King and Moody-Turner make the case that diversity, innovation, and canon expansion are essential to maintaining the vitality of African American literary studies.
Published by: Indiana University Press
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Table of Contents
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There is a fanpage on the popu lar networking site Facebook entitled “i hate reading.” it’s a very succinct title, and there’s not much else to the page. if you hate reading, you simply click the button that says “like,” and you can become a “Fan” and proudly show your unabashed support for illiteracy. as of this writing, the site has over 450,000 members, all of ...
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We are deeply indebted to Mat, houston, Darryl, Maryemma, eve, kristina, evie, carmen, alice, James, l.h., alex, richard, Martha, trudier, howard, Dana, greg, pia, and David for trusting us with their work and for stay ing with us through multiple revisions. We could not have asked for a more We wish to recognize the following penn state university persons ...
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But whether an author protested Jim crow directly or strived to produce a work in which race didn’t matter, what made af ri can american literature a literature was the his tori cal circumstance in which black literary achievement could count, almost automatically, as an ef_fort on behalf of the “race” as a whole. That circumstance was Jim crow or ...
Part 1. Politics of Publishing, Pedagogy, and Readership
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1. The Point of Entanglement: Modernism, Diaspora, and Toni Morrison’s Love
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We must return to the point from which we started. Diversion is not a useful ploy unless it is nourished by reversion: not a return to the longing for origins, to some immutable state of being, but a return to the point of entanglement, from which we forcefully turned away; that is where we must ultimately put to work the forces of creolization, or perish....
2. “The Historical Burden that Only Oprah can Bear”: African American Satirists and the State of the Literature
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Deep within paul Beatty’s most recent novel, Slumberland (2008), the reader will find tucked neatly but auspiciously in a footnote the narra-tor’s droll comment that around the time of the Berlin Wall’s fall, oprah Winfrey was “in the process of buying the rights to the life story of ev-ery black ameri can born between 1642 and 1968 as a way of staking claim ...
3. Black is Gold: African American Literature, Critical Literacy, and Twenty-First-Century Pedagogies
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...i want to draw a map, so to speak, of a criti cal geography and use that map to open as much space for discovery . . . as did the origi-nal charting of the new World—without the mandate for conquest.The two operative phrases from the Morrison epigraph that serve as a point of departure for the discussion that follows are “criti cal geography” ...
4. Hip Hop (Feat. Women Writers): Reimagining Black Women and Agency through Hip Hop Fiction
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...“it’s bigger than religion / hip hop / it’s bigger than my niggas / hip hop,” chants erykah Badu on “The healer” of_f her 2008 release, New Amerykah, Part One: 4th World War. While Badu is typically considered a neo- soul artist, she is deeply enmeshed in the hip hop music world, oc-cupying roles that range from singing hooks on popu lar rap songs to en-...
5. Street Literature and the Mode of Spectacular Writing: Popular Fiction between Sensationalism, Education, Politics, and Entertainment
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During the past decade a new form of black popu lar fiction emerged in the nation’s inner- urban areas—spaces that the pub lish ing industry and book distribution networks never imagined would be commercially viable. known as street literature or urban Fiction, the novels are of_t en writ-ten by first- time authors—some of them former or current prisoners— ...
Part 2. Alternative Genealogies
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6. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Slave: Visual Artistry as Agency in the Contemporary Narrative of Slavery
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...among the illustrations appended to harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Written by Herself, in the volume edited by Jean Fagan Yellin, is a copy of the advertisement placed in the papers by Jacobs’s owner when she escaped from his control. it describes the twenty- one- year- old Jacobs and provides would- be apprehenders with a set of char-...
7. Variations on the Theme: Black Family, Nationhood, Lesbianism, and Sadomasochistic Desire in Marci Blackman’s Po Man’s Child
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...—“P.ao,” f.ar.aom M.aar.aci B.alack.aman’s Po M.aan’s.a C.ahild.ain the novel Po Man’s Child, Marci Blackman’s character po deliberately and secretly cuts herself. in such moments of extreme pain and escap-ism, through fantasy and role playing, po asserts an authority that vio-lates heterosexist expectations of the broader black community. Yet even ...
8. Bad Brother Man: Black Folk Figure Narratives in Comics
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...recent scholarship in af ri cana studies has revisited the “badman” folk fig ure in af ri can ameri can culture. Much of this scholarship (perry 2004, cobb 2006, and ogbar 2007) has reengaged this classic black folk fig ure in order to explicate similar characters emerging in the lyrics and music videos of hip hop culture. in this essay i will extend these new theo-...
Part 3. Beyond Authenticity
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9. Sampling the Sonics of Sex (Funk) in Paul Beatty’s Slumberland
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...afro- german identity emerged as a relational concept where the construction of race/blackness and identity are constituted through similar ways, as well as to the discourses and categories of racial dif_ference and identity through which this process of positioning is enacted. Black german identity is thus the product and process ...
10. Post-Integration Blues: Black Geeks and Afro-Diasporic Humanism
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...on the one hand, this essay grows out of a general interest in taking stock of some significant shif_ts in af ri can ameri can identity and cultural pro-duction subsequent to the civil rights Movement, and, on the other hand, it is a result of teaching a course about the recent history of the af-ri can ameri can novel.1 When initially conceptualizing this course a few ...
11. The Crisis of Authenticity in Contemporary African American Literature
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The conversation about the purpose and nature of af ri can ameri can lit-erature began when af ri can ameri cans started pub lish ing stories, po-etry, and prose during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centu-ries. For much of the twentieth century, this discussion continued on in W. e. B. Du Bois’s The Crisis, the passing novels of the harlem renais-...
12. Someday we’ll all be Free: Considering Post-Oppression Fiction
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...i was asked to contribute to this anthology in late 2009, af_ter attending “celebrating af ri can ameri can literature: The novel since 1988,” part of a conference series held biennially at penn state university. The diverse voices and perspectives of the academics and fiction writers at the con-ference were fascinating and thrilling to me—i was extremely f_lattered ...
Part 4. Pedagogical Approaches and Implications
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13. Untangling History, Dismantling Fear: Teaching Tayari Jones’s Leaving Atlanta
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...slav ery. reconstruction. lynching. Black codes. The ku klux klan. seg-regation. Jim crow laws. The great Migration. school desegregation. The murders of emmett till, Dr. Martin luther king, Jr., Malcolm X, and a host of others. The greensboro sit- ins. The atlanta child Murders. These significant his tori cal events—and countless others that are less ...
14. Reading Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner with a Group of Collegiate Black Men
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When i set up a blog to discuss af ri can ameri can comic strips, i never thought we would end up concentrating on the revolutionary free dom fighter, nat turner. nevertheless, our extended conversation involving a group of collegiate black men interested in multiple views of af ri can ameri can progress and resistance eventually did just that, leading us to ...
15. Toward the Theoretical Practice of Conceptual Liberation: Using an Africana Studies Approach to Reading African American Literary Texts
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...af ri cana studies is an academic extension of what cedric robinson has called “The Black radical tradition.” This tradition is notable for emerg-ing out of a pre- existing constellation of af ri can intellectual work, shaped by millennia of subsequent migration, adaptation, and improvisation. Through the central acts of translation and re cov ery,1 af ri cana stud-...
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...on behalf of the novelists, i applaud the scholars. and i thank the schol-ars for in clud ing fiction writers in the important conversation about the evolving shape of the af ri can ameri can novel that took place at the nit-tany lion inn oc to ber 23rd and 24th of 2009. That conversation is pow-erfully continued in this volume. again the writers are invited....
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Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 3 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Blacks in the Diaspora