UPDATE: Teaching Toni Morrison (1/25/05; collection)

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

Revised JANUARY 10, 2005

Call For Papers: Collection of assignments and lesson plans on Toni
Morrison's prose and fiction

The Fiction of Toni Morrison: Teaching Race, Culture, and Identity

I am currently soliciting contributions from university instructors
(professors and graduate students/teaching assistants) for a collection of
materials -- teaching strategies and assignments -- 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

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. The anthology,
tentatively titled The Fiction of Toni Morrison: Teaching Race, Culture,
and Identity, is intended to showcase the excellent work that has been done
in the classroom that makes visible Morrison's contribution to American
cultureparticularly 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. 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 the teaching of
Morrison's work.

Please submit assignments and lesson plans, with a short (3-5 pages)
rationale that explicitly discusses how you approach Morrison's work in the

Below is a list of suggested topics/themes but is not at all inclusive. The
most unique and innovative approaches to teaching Morrison's work will be
considered for the anthology.

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.
    * Morrison's 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!

Submission Guidelines:

Please send completed and polished materials (assignments and rationales)
via e-mail attachment (you may be asked later on to submit a hard copy) by
January 25, 2005. Email submissions accepted only as MS Word attachment.
Late submissions will be considered but early submissions are welcome!

* A publisher is interested in seeing preliminary chapters.*

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

Where applicable, please adhere to citation guidelines outlined by MLA

Dr. Jami L. Carlacio
English Department
250 Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
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Received on Wed Jan 12 2005 - 12:38:16 EST