UPDATE: Toni Morrison's Fiction and Prose: Assignments, Lesson Plans and Related Essays (1/15/05; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Jami Carlacio
contact email: 

Revised October 15, 2004

Call For Papers: Collection of assignments and lesson plans with related
essays written in response to these, on Toni Morrison's prose and fiction

'The Fiction of Toni Morrison: Teaching and Writing on Race, Culture, and

I am currently soliciting contributions from university instructors
(professors and graduate students/teaching assistants) for a collection of
materials -- teaching strategies and assignments as well as essays -- on
the work of Toni Morrison. Contributions may come from a variety of
disciplines, including history, Africana Studies, American Studies,
English, Rhetoric, and Women's Studies.

This project affirms the central importance of Morrison's contribution to
American letters in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As we already
know, scholarship on Morrison numbers in the hundreds of essays and
full-length texts, with the bulk of attention paid to this Nobel Laureate
from professional scholars. Currently, however, no text exists that offers
materials explicitly designed to be used in the classroom. I intend for
this anthology, tentatively titled The Fiction of Toni Morrison: Teaching
and Writing on Race, Culture, and Identity, to showcase the excellent work
that teachers and students together have done that calls attention to
Morrison's contribution to American culture-- particularly our relationship
to the history of racism as well as to identity and cultural politics. This
anthology will provide teachers at both secondary and post-secondary levels
with specific assignments and rationales of Morrison's fiction and prose.
Moreover, the anthology will include written responses (essays) to the
assignments, written by graduate and/or undergraduate students. Whether an
instructor is teaching Morrison for the first time or for the tenth time,
this collection will serve as a valuable pedagogical tool to enhance both
the teaching and understanding of Morrison's work.

Instructors: please submit assignments and lesson plans, with a short
(200-300 words) rationales; and Students: please submit essays written
directly in response to these assignments --

that address the following topics:

The Novels:
    * Any topic dealing with any of the novels, from The Bluest Eye to Love
(submissions are particularly welcome on Tar Baby and Love).
Thematic Concerns:
    * How the themes of literacy, identity, and whiteness function in
Morrison's Nobel Lecture, "Site of Memory,"and/or Playing in the Dark, and
several of the novels.
    * Morrisons Nobel Lecture as it explores whether language is living or
dead, and what its limitations are if it is dead. If language is a system,
partly as a living thing over which one has control, but mostly as agencyas
an act with consequences,then how might we use language is to tell stories,
to make sense of our lives?
    * How Morrison complicates our reading by revising traditional, linear
narrative structures to create a multi-vocal text that complicates our
understanding of history and highlights the importance of memory
    * How such narrative structures illustrate the way memory operates in
telling the past
    * How Morrison uses the African folk tradition and stream of
consciousness technique to illustrate how these work to complicate the
dominant culture's account of slavery
    * The role of journeys, both secular and spiritual
    * The importance of storytelling and history in the shaping of a self,
from childhood to adulthood, from innocence to maturity
    * The meaning of selfhood, particularly the importance of maintaining
it in the face of reductionist thinking and essentializing tendencies.
    * The role of love, motherhood, and gender in several of Morrison's novels
    * The importance of love and its multi-faceted definitions
    * How Morrison uses characters in Beloved as a vehicle to explore the
problematic nature of gender and gender roles in slavery
    * How Morrison uses characters in Sula to explore the role of men in
relationship to women
    * The themes of violence, loss, and regeneration
    * The role of history in fiction
    * The role of racial self-loathing and its consequences
More options are welcome, including essays on any of Morrison's fiction and
prose essays as well as her critical text, Playing in the Dark.

Submission Guidelines:

Please send completed and polished materials (assignments and essays) via
e-mail attachment or hard copy (750 - 3000 words, or between three
[minimum] to ten pages [maximum], with complete bibliographic citations) by
January 15, 2005. Email submissions accepted only in as MS Word attachment.

Include your name, institutional affiliation, title, and contact
information with your submission.

Please adhere to citation guidelines outlined by MLA (www.mla.org).

Dr. Jami L. Carlacio
English Department
250 Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
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Received on Mon Oct 25 2004 - 17:19:34 EDT