Examining Past and Defining Present - The Black Literary Aesthetic in the USA, Canada, and Caribbean

full name / name of organization: 
Paine College - School of Arts and Sciences
contact email: 
akilahw@msn.com or ewilliams@paine.edu

Examining Past and Defining Present
The Black Literary Aesthetic in the USA, Canada, and Caribbean
April 11 – 13, 2013

Paine College - School of Arts and Sciences
Contact: Dr. Emily Allen-Williams, Dean

Keynote Speaker
Amiri Baraka
Founder of the Black Arts Movement

The purpose of this conference – Examining Past/Defining Present: The Black Literary Aesthetic in the USA, Canada and Caribbean – is to highlight the centrality of literature written by people of African heritage during the 1960s and 1970s in the American, Canadian and Caribbean Literary Canons. Specifically, this conference seeks to open a revisionary aesthetic view on the literatures of Americans, Canadians, and Caribbeans of African descent.

The participants in the conference will present papers and discuss critical constructs which will produce revisionary definitions of a Black Literary Aesthetic. The work produced will move away from a mere examination of literary ideas towards a discourse that enables humans to study and critique literature written by Black Americans, Black Canadians, and Black Caribbeans as ‘beautiful’ [or not] using the full range of human emotions towards such critically aesthetic responses. A re-examination of past definitions of Black Literary Aesthetics will be central in the context of the conference.

Presentations – papers, roundtable discussions, and poster sessions – may be organized topically from [but are not limited to] the following questions:
1. Were the motivations and concerns of the literary artists (associated with Black Nationalism/Black Power Movements in the USA, Canada, and Caribbean) more monolithic or varied?
2. How were the literary expressions critiqued? What were the motivations and agents for such critiques? Was there significant ‘protest’ (during the Black Arts Movement) to the level and substance of those critiques?
3. How did gender in addition to race emerge as major or minor factors in both the creation and critique of the work, as well as the absence/presence of substantive critique?
4. What was the [space of the] divide (wide, narrow, etc.) in the critique of Black Literary production in the USA versus Canada and Caribbean? What were the reasons for such a divide and how is it reflected in the criticism?
5. How has the scholarly and critical response to a Black Literary Aesthetic evolved, increased, or decreased (for the works) in each decade: 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s?
6. What are the affects and effects of popular culture on the political and social aspects of contemporary literature written by Blacks in the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean? What new terminologies and critiques are required and/or are necessary in defining a Black Literary Aesthetic?
7. How effective is the use of social media in widening both the critical response to literature from the Black Arts Movement as well as creating venues for publication and critique of contemporary Black literary artists?

8. How will work in the Digital Humanities, which interprets the cultural and social impact of the new information age, provide new ways of critiquing historical literary works as well as contextualize new works? How will tools and methodologies such as three-dimensional visualization, data-mining, network analysis, and digital mapping assist in advancing research on the Black Literary Aesthetic?

Deadline for submission of abstracts and proposals: October 26, 2012
Microsoft word attachments or PDF format
Proposals must include Name, Title, Institutional Affiliation, and Categories of Presenter (as follows):
1) Undergraduate students
2) Graduate students
3) Faculty
4) Independent artists and scholars/researchers

Submit proposals to akilahw@msn.com or ewilliams@paine.edu

Location of conference: Augusta, GA (USA)

Specifications on conference fees, travel and lodging will be provided upon acceptance for presentation. Fees must be paid by February 2013 for conference participation. No financial transactions will take place at the conference other than book sales.

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