CFP: Proposed Panel on Evaluating Harriet E. Wilson's _Our Nig_ in the 21st Century

full name / name of organization: 
Miranda Green-Barteet/American Literature Association
contact email: 
mgreenb6@uwo.ca

Evaluating Harriet E. Wilson's Our Nig in the 21st Century

Since its rediscovery in the early 1980s, Our Nig; or, Sketches in the Life of a Free Black has received a great deal of critical attention. From authenticating the text to determining its genre to recovering Harriet E. Wilson's identity and biography, the text has captured the imagination of scholars of African American literature, American literature, feminist theory, cultural studies, race theory, and American history. More than thirty years after Henry Louis Gates, Jr. rediscovered and began authenticating Wilson's text, Our Nig is firmly a part of the African American literary canon and, some would argue, the American literary canon. Despite garnering much attention from the academic world, Our Nig has not yet caught the notice of mainstream American, whereas several African American autobiographical texts, including Solomon Northrup's Twelve Years a Slave and Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, published at about the same time have. This proposed panel seeks to consider both the academic world's continued interest and the general public's continued unawareness of Wilson's Our Nig. We will examine both new critical trends on the text as well as consider why the text has not yet bridged the gap between academic readers and more mainstream readers.

Please send abstracts of 350 words and a short autobiography to Miranda Green-Barteet (mgreenb6 @ uwo.ca) by January 27, 2013.

American Literature Association is May 22-25, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

cfp categories: 
african-american
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ethnicity_and_national_identity
gender_studies_and_sexuality
interdisciplinary