[UPDATE] No, Seriously . . . Is It Really Over? African American Literature After Jim Crow

full name / name of organization: 
Midwest Modern Language Association

In his provocative new book, What Was African American Literature? (2011), Kenneth Warren argues that African American literature ended with the legal abrogation of Jim Crow. Viewing the tradition as an historical response to white racism during a specific cultural moment, rather than an ongoing expressive art-form, Warren not only identifies the key reading practices that should govern our critical approach to black literature produced during the first half of the twentieth-century, but he also questions our unwillingness to put the volatile past that this literature hinges upon behind us. Is African American literature, as we know it, really over? What's at stake in such a bold declaration? What does this mean for the future of African American literary studies? The profession? This panel seeks papers that address these and other related questions from any literary, cultural, or critical perspective. Please send 250 word abstracts by May 20 to Melissa Daniels, Dept. of English, Northwestern University,