In Toni Morrison’s Latest Novel, Black (Children’s) Lives Matter

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 [by Portia Owusu] In her review of Toni Morrison’s eighth novel, Love, English writer Hilary Mantel asserts: “when Morrison writes at her best, you can feel the workings of history through her prose.” An accurate description, if ever there was one, for the novelist who is often described as the voice of America’s conscience. For many, it is Morrison’s achievements in Beloved, the Pulitzer prize-winning […]

Toni Morrison: A Full Circle in Motion

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[by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Abraham Lincoln’s surmising that Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin begat the War Between the States is a folkloric salute to the power of language and imagination. Stowe used a lot of sugar to advance the cause of abolition. Superior to Stowe and members of her liberal tribe, Toni Morrison has avoided traffic in sugar or kindred flavorings. She is […]

Subversive Journalism: A Review of Earle V. Bryant’s BYLINE RICHARD WRIGHT: ARTICLES FROM THE DAILY WORKER AND NEW MASSES (2015)

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[by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Such recent dedicated scholarship as Mary Helen Washington’s The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s and William J. Maxwell’s F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature serve as a warrant for thinking of contemporary literary and cultural studies as components of a mega-surveillance machine. Readers and critics cooperate, often unwittingly, […]

“For My People” as the Fulfillment of Margaret Walker Alexander’s Literary Manifesto

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[by C. Liegh McInnis] Before I can discuss how “For My People” speaks to people today, I must begin by discussing the manner in which Dr. Alexander began her writing career by providing her readers with a literary manifesto, which shows that Dr. Alexander understood poetry to be an engagement of critical thinking through which societal ills can be resolved through creative approaches.  With “I […]

Of Folklore, Feminism, and Fire: An Afternoon with KU Associate Professor of English Giselle Anatol

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[by Creighton Nicholas Brown] University of Kansas Professor of English Giselle Anatol spoke about and read from her newly published book, Things That Fly in the Night: Female Vampires in Literature of the Circum-Caribbean and African Diaspora to a packed audience at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas on Thursday, April 2. Reflecting on the genesis of her project, Anatol said,  […]

Performance: Richard Wright in 2015

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[by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Despite my having “performed” Richard Wright with a modicum of success some years ago in a Chautauqua series sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council, I know virtually nothing about performance theory as an “interdisciplinary area of study and critical method,” as it is discussed in the recent book Black Performance Theory (2014), edited by Thomas F. DeFrantz and Anita Gonzalez. […]

“Characteristics of Negro Expression”: Kenton Rambsy on the Importance of Digital Humanities in the Study of African American Short Stories

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[by Stefanie Torres and Jennifer Colatosi] On February 11, 2015, Hall Center Research Fellow and KU English Ph.D. candidate Kenton Rambsy presented on notable outcomes of his dissertation research in his interdisciplinary graduate research workshop, “Characteristics of Negro Expression: Digital Humanities and African American Short Stories,” at the University of Kansas. Rambsy’s work employs a digital humanities approach through text-mining software to understand African American […]