Black and White in Paris: Expatriate American Writers in the Age of Segregation—A TransContinental Approach

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Editors: Dr. Richard Swope and Dr. Reinhard Sander

There is a great deal of scholarship devoted to the lives of twentieth-century American writers, both white and black, who spent significant portions of their careers in Paris. We have numerous books on the impact of Paris itself on expatriate writers, on the Lost Generation, on Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Stein as well as writers like Henry Miller and Djuna Barnes or the Beats in Paris after World War II. At the same time, research on African-American literature has produced a variety of quality works, such as Michel Fabre's From Harlem to Paris, that discuss black writers in Paris during the 1920s (Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay) as well as writers who went after World War II (Richard Wright, Chester Himes, James Baldwin). There are few books, however, that include in the same pages discussion of both the black and white writers who expatriated to Paris and scant research that addresses the intersections and interaction between the white and black American writers who spent important parts of their careers in Paris during either the interwar years or the years following World War II. The most obvious reason for this division of scholarship is the fact that segregation did at least to some degree follow these writers to Paris. The problem is that the scholarship on these individuals or groups of writers has not fully addressed this segregation that travelled with them from the United States nor their connections or thoughts on one another. While Paris—with its architecture, museums, and high regard for artists and intellectuals—provided literary inspiration and haven for both black and white American writers and while these groups of writers, along with Caribbean and African writers, frequented the same neighborhoods, clubs, and cafés, some of which they made famous, and made the acquaintance of some of the same intellectuals in Paris, the story of the white writers and the analysis of their works remains largely separated from the story of their black counterparts.
To fill this void, we are editing a collection of essays for a book tentatively titled Black and White in Paris: Expatriate American Writers in the Age of Segregation—A TransContinental Approach, for which we invite proposals for original essays concentrating on the lives and/or literary works of black and white expatriate writers who made a home in Paris. We are particularly interested in essays that provide cross-cultural readings documenting the extent of the intersections or explore the underlying explanations for the dynamic at work between the black and white writers in Paris. While this project began as an exploration of the interactions, or lack thereof, between black and white writers from the U.S., we are open to essays on individual authors, either black or white, and the expatriate experience. We also wish to include interactions these writers might have had with Caribbean and African writers, many connected to the French colonies, who also made a home of Paris. We, in fact, envision a "TransContinental" approach to the expatriate writers and the works they produced in and about Paris. TransContinental indicates not only the inclusion of scholarship on Caribbean and African writers, but also our notion of Paris, both during the interwar years and after World War II, as the world's unofficial artistic capital, a unique space of cross-cultural intersections and meeting point of writers, artists, and intellectuals from Europe, the Americas, Africa, and elsewhere.
Proposals should be within 700 to 1,000 words. They should include a clear title, an original thesis indicating a unique and significant contribution to the relevant scholarship, a compelling argument, and the critical and theoretical strategies which will be undertaken in the essay. A curriculum vitae and contact information should accompany the proposals.
The extended deadline for proposals is 1 April, 2015. All materials should be sent electronically to and
Essays should be between 20 and 30 double-spaced pages long. They should be written following MLA style for format, in-text citation, and documentation, and using Times New Roman, 12 point font. The deadline for completed essays is 1 September, 2015