"The Legacy of Toni Morrison" African American literature at SCMLA Conference, Oct 7-9, 2021 (Houston, Texas)

deadline for submissions: 
April 10, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
South Central Modern Language Association
contact email: 

In addition to the overall conference theme of “Politics of Protest,” the SCMLA African American Literature Regular Session encourages students, researchers, and scholars to submit presentations that explore the Legacy of Toni Morrison. As the author of eleven novels, five children's books, two plays, and nine non-fiction texts, Morrison stands tall as one of the most well-known, well-read, and often-taught authors of the twentieth (and 21st) century.

Since her death in August 2019 many have been reassessing the multiple legacies of Toni Morrison: as a novelist, cultural and literary critic, and editor. We welcome papers that offer interpretations of Morrison’s individuals works as well as those that look at the political, social, and artistic impact of her writings. We also hope to hear presentations that engage with Morrison’s time as an editor at Random House. In addition to the archival celebration of Black history that is The Black Book (1974) from 1967 to 1983 she published works by Angela Davis, Muhammad Ali, Henry Dumas, Gayl Jones, and Toni Cade Bambara. How did Morrison impact the careers of these writers? How does Morrison continue to inspire writers and artists in the present day?

In her keynote at the American Writers Congress in 1981 Morrison asserted, “We don’t need any more writers as solitary heroes. We need a heroic writer’s movement: assertive, militant, pugnacious.” Morrison said in several interviews that the books she wrote and edited were her contributions to the civil rights movement. Reading her works through this lens allows us to see Toni Morrison as both a singular and exceptional voice and also invites us to consider her political and literary legacies, contributions, and lasting impacts on African American literature.

We hope that you join us in Houston as we discuss these topics, and more, during our panel sessions. In addition to these topics, we also welcome submissions concerned with any aspect of African American literature and culture. Abstracts should be approximately 150-250 words and include the presentation title, presenter, and affiliation. Scholars of all levels are encouraged to submit and share their work. Please note if you require audio/visual components for the presentation.

Abstracts should be sent to session chair Rebecca Nicholson-Weir (rnichlsn@ecok.edu) and session secretary DeLinda Marzette Stuckey (demarzette@pvamu.edu). The submission deadline is April 10th.