Call for Papers

New Criticism and Pedagogical Directions for Black Women Writers

This is the second CFP.  The last edition of the Norton Anthology of African American Literature came in two volumes and contained just under 3,000 pages.  With so many writers and so much volume, one would think that the writers of the Black belletristic tradition were covered between those covers.  Yet, Black women writers of the contemporary era are poorly represented.  On the other hand, other works by Black women writers were carefully selected through a veil of respectability politics and as a demonstration of an accepted metanarrative that anchors Black women writers theoretically to their male cohorts.  For example, Ann Petry’s The Street is routinely taught as a Black woman writing in Richard Wright’s Naturalist/Urban Realism tradition.  However, Petry’s entire text, and not the excerpt included in most anthologies, is polyvalent and can be taught in a multiplicity of ways.  While Chesnutt is lionized (and rightfully so), Pauline Hopkins remains under-theorized and more than likely undertaught.  Her contributions to the advancement of the African American short story are not explored thoroughly.

In order to more fully represent Black women writers, New Criticism and Pedagogical Directions for Black Women Writers (currently under contract to be published by Lexington Books 2020), seeks to fully represent Black women’s literary production through a collection of pedagogical and theoretical essays.  The collection is arranged chronologically and geographically: The Past, the Gift of the Caribbean, and the Afro-Future.  We seek essays on African American women writers of the 19th century, Afro-Caribbean women writers, and Black women science fiction writers.  While the response to the initial CFP has been overwhelming, we need these writers covered in order to round out the collection fully.

  1. Jarena Lee/Sojourner Truth
  2. Gwendolyn Brooks
  3. Alice Childress
  4. June Jordan
  5. Lucille Clifton
  6. Una Marson
  7. Louise Bennett
  8. Merle Hodge
  9. Marina Maxwell
  10. Myriam Warner Vierya
  11. Jean Binta Breeze
  12. Elizabeth Nunez
  13. Gayl Jones (not Corregidora)
  14. Alice Walker (not The Color Purple)
  15. Wanda Coleman
  16. Suzi Lori-Parks
  17. Bernice McFadden
  18. Natasha Trethewey
  19. Nikky Finney
  20. Tanarive Due
  21. Nnedi Okorafor
  22. N. K. Jemison
  23. Nisi Shawl
  24. Andrea Hairston
  25. Jennifer M. Brissett
  26. Eva Shockey

If you currently teach these writers or if you are interested in writing about them, please send a brief bio and an abstract (200-300 words) to  Bios and abstracts are due by August 5, 2019.  A decision will be made and participants will be notified by no later than August 31, 2019.  If chapters are accepted, final drafts are to be 20-25 pages long, including the bibliography.

Contact Info: 

LaToya Jefferson-James, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, English
University of Tennessee Martin-Somerville
Southwest Tennessee Community College

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