New Criticism and Pedagogical Directions for Contemporary Black Women Writers

deadline for submissions: 
June 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
LaToya Jefferson-James, Southwest Tennessee Community College

Call for Papers

Tentative TitleNew Criticism and Pedagogical Directions for Contemporary Black Women Writers

Editor: LaToya Jefferson-James, Ph.D.

Publisher: Lexington Books, a wholly owned subsidiary of Littlefield & Rowan Publishers

Deadline for submissions:  June 15, 2019

Decision Date: July 15, 2019



African American Literature has evolved rapidly since 1970.  One of the very first widely-adopted anthologies was Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro American Literature (1970), edited by Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal.  It was an outgrowth of the Black Arts Movement, and was earth-moving for its time, with 657 pages and all genres covered within its 178 entries.  As African American Studies/Literature classes became more complex, the anthologies grew larger.  Today's anthologies include selections from the 1700s to the 2000s, and most are well over 2,000 pages.  The last edition of the Norton Anthology for African American Literature is a two-volume work, with 2, 800 pages, and a separate compact disc for media presentations.  One would think that literary writers would be covered with so many anthologies and so many pages.  Yet, on the one hand, many Black women writers, particularly contemporary ones, are under-represented in anthologies.  On the other hand, the works of included Black women writers have been carefully selected in order to fit particular theoretical/pedagogical paradigms.    In order to more fully represent Black women, their works, and the teaching of their works – whether they are included in contemporary anthologies or not – and to introduce students to the fullness of Black women’s literary productions, New Criticism and Pedagogical Directions for Contemporary Black Women is seeking theoretical and/or pedagogical essays from people who are currently teaching Black women writers in the academy.  The collection is centered around geography and time: The Past, The Gift of the Caribbean, The Present, and The AfroFuture.  It seeks papers on women writers of the 19th century, the Caribbean, contemporary Black women writers, and Black women writers of science fiction.  Please send a 200-300 word abstract and a brief bio to: by June 15, 2019.  You will be notified of the acceptance/rejection by no later than July 15, 2019.   Final essays are to be 20-25 pages long, including the works cited/bibliography page. 



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Authors/Texts/Works Covered:

The Past: Phyllis Wheatley as Subversive Political Commentator, Jarena Lee (the first African American woman to have her autobiography published in America), Pauline Hopkins and the advancement of the short story, Our Nig by Harriet Wilson, Iola Leroy by Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, Dorothy West, Moses Man of the Mountain and Seraph on the Suwanee by Zora Neale Hurston, Rachel by Angeline Grimke, The Street by Ann Petry (possibly other works), The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window by Lorraine Hansberry, Margaret Walker Alexander, Alice Childress, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton 


A Gift of the Caribbean:  Una Marson, Louise Bennett (entries on her poetry and subsequent influence on the Jamaican literary/popular culture scene welcome), Merle Hodge, Marina Maxwell, Michelle Cliff (while entries on Abeng are welcome, entries on No Telephone to Heaven and her poetry are encouraged), Maryse Conde (please, English only!  At this time, we cannot accept works in French.  Her works are widely available in translation thanks to Richard Philcox), Paule Marshall (African American and Caribbean canon), Edwidge Danticat (African American and Caribbean canon), Velma Pollard, Myriam Warner-Vierya (as with Conde, English only), Jamaica Kincaid (African American and Caribbean canon), Jean “Binta” Breeze, and Elizabeth Nunez


The Present: Anything by Gayl Jones that is NOT Corregidora, Alice Walker’s works that are NOT The Color Purple or “Everyday Use” (Meridian, Grange Copeland, Temple of My Familiar and all poetry entries are acceptable), Sassafras, Cypress, and Indigo by Ntozake Shange, Wanda Coleman (entries on poetry, short stories, and novels welcome), Toni Morrison (please, no entries on The Bluest Eye or Beloved at this time.  Sula, Song of Solomon, Love, A Mercy, Tar Baby, Paradise, God Save the Child, and her only short story are welcome), Chimimanda Adichie, Zadie Smith, Mariama Ba, Bessie Head, Shay Youngblood, Suzi Lori-Parks, Tayari Jones, Bernice McFadden, Natasha Trethewey, and Nikky Finney


The Afrofuture:  Octavia Butler, Tananarive Due, Nnedi Okorafor (works on the trilogy or separate texts are acceptable), N. K. Jemisin, Nalo Hopkinson, Andrea Hairston (plays and novels), Nisi Shawl, Karen Lord, Jennifer Marie Brissett, and Evie Shockley