"William Faulkner and the Work of Antiracism"
Call for Papers: Faulkner Journal special issue, “William Faulkner, Race, and the Work of Antiracism”
The role of race in Faulkner’s work and in its critical reception has long been among the most vexed questions of American literary culture. Faulkner’s fiction both represents and critically examines plantation culture and the legacy of racial slavery, white supremacy and white fragility, Jim Crow society, Lost Cause ideology, vigilante racial terrorism, and state-sanctioned violence against Black citizens. It also subsumes its depiction of Black experience within constrained perspectives and relegates African American characters to his work’s margins. Critics have long contended with the centrality of race in Yoknapatawpha and with the race politics of the fiction as well as with Faulkner’s own politics. The history of Faulkner studies itself bears attending to its at times problematic perspectives or modes with regard to race and racism within literary studies generally.
This special issue welcomes a broad range of responses to its working title. These may include critiques of racist discourse and practice as they inform Faulkner’s fiction; narrative accounts of policing and state-sanctioned – or self-styled statist – agents maintaining “civic defense”; interrogations of slavery and the capitalist economy; essays about teaching Faulkner in our contemporary context and in light of inclusive pedagogy; examples of inequities in incarceration and the law; the role of coerced or exploited labor (including the Falkner family’s domestic and agricultural labor); instances of class conflict and racial blurring; attention to sexuality, paternity, and legacy. Proposals that address Faulkner’s nonfiction and its views are welcome, as are papers that discuss Faulkner in relation to other writers of his or subsequent eras who treat race or manifestly pursue antiracist aims in their writing. Our interest with this special issue is a nuanced exploration of the interplay between the antiracist elements of Faulkner’s art alongside and against the overtly racist elements of his life and work.
The editors particularly urge scholars working outside the frame of Faulkner studies and from disciplines such as African American or Africana Studies, Sociology, American Studies, human rights activism, critical race theory, critical legal studies, or environmental justice to submit proposals.