CFP: Five Years Beyond Douglass: Expanding the Conversation

full name / name of organization: 
C19, March 13-16, 2014

This panel invites participants to put in practice the call of Michael Drexler and Ed White and avoid "streamlined, artificially constructed canons" of African-American literature by engaging one or more of the little-known slave narratives archived online at Documenting the American South. How might the accounts of Lewis Clarke and "'Griswold,' the African Youth"—published, like Frederick Douglass's more famous Narrative, in 1845—complicate our understanding of slavery's meanings and narrative conventions before Douglass? What truth value do we attribute to anonymously-authored biographies of figures such as Samuel Joseph May, Henry Franklin, and London Ferrill, and how does authorial uncertainty affect our willingness to teach or write about these texts? How are the complications of marriage between enslaved African Americans represented in the narratives of William and Ellen Craft or Edmond Kelley and Paralee Walker? Paper proposals that address these or other, related questions are solicited for a panel at the 2014 C19 biennial conference, to be held March 13-16, 2014 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Please send proposals of up to 500 words and a CV to Zach Hutchins ( by September 20, 2013.