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Anne's Reading (and Viewing) Notes towards Big Books of American Literature, Fall 2016

Anne Dalke's picture

Bliss, Eula. "White Debt." The New York Times Magazine. December 2, 2015, :
starts w/ the german word 'debt' = 'guilt';
works its way  through "privilege" ("private" + "law")
to "complacency" and "complicity"--and then back to "forgotten debt."
i buy this:
"whiteness is a system of social advantages that can be traced back to the advent of slavery...
not an identity but a moral problem." or, as Coates puts it,
"‘It is as though we have run up a credit-card bill, and, having pledged to charge no more,
remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear.’’

Browne, Simone. Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (Durham: Duke University Press, 2015):
Introduction: Fanon's FOIA files form part of the long history of the collection of intelligence on many black radicals, artists, activist, and intellectual targeted for surveillance by the FBI.
difference between translation of his title as "The Fact of Blackness" and as "The Lived Experience of the Black," per Sylvia Wynter, is shift from blackness as objective fact to "the imposition of race in black life, where one's being is experienced through others"; "what it is like to be black, within the terms of the mode of being human"
Epidermalization: the imposition of race on the body, w/ no "ontological resistance" in spaces shaped for/by whiteness
Dark Matters takes up blackness, as metaphor and as lived materiality, and applies it to an understanding of surveillance:
Pamela Z's Baggage Allowance; Adrian Piper's What It's Like, What It is #3, Caryl Phillips' "The Cargo Rap," Hank Willis Thomas's Branded Series-->performances of freedom under a routinzied surveillance, with blackness as "never closed and always under contestation": "Black' black ain't."
"we can detect the presence of a black hole by its effects on the region of space where it is located"-->use this theorizing as away to make visible the distoriting and productive effects of blackness in rather unperceived yet producing a productive disruption of that around it; blackness a key site through which surveillance is practiced, narrated, enacted. the fact of antiblackness....from transatlantic slavery forward...race continues to structure surveillance practices
intervention in surveillance literature by naming "absented presence" of blackness: "racializing surveillance"
cf. "surveillance" (organizaitons observing people") w/ "sousveillance" (active inversion of power relations: "observing and recording by entity not in a position of power," ie. video recordings of beatings by police officers); human eye as 'body-borne camera"; violence of the cumulative gaze, vs. "dark sousveillance" as freedom practice, critique of racializing surveillance
Ch. 1: complicate Panopticon through a reading of the slave ship Brooks (1789)
Ch. 2: "lantern laws," ordinances for regulating Negroes and Slaves in the Night Times" by making them carry lights after dark in NYC; and 18th c. ledger, The Book of Negroes, that lists 3000 self-emancipating former slaves, with identifying biometric information
Ch. 3: history of branding slaves-> social sorting/"epidermal thinking" embedded in passports, identification documents, credit bureau databases, films
Ch. 4: experiences of black women in airports; history of "security theater" in airports; "racial baggage" that weighs soem dow; experiences of black women; discretionary power of agents/airline workers
Epilogue: standard algorithms function under a logic of prototypcial whiteness, the cultural logic that informs much biometric information technology, w/ lightness privileged in enrollment, measurement, and recognition processes, reliant upon dark matter for its meaning; a refusal of neutrality
Edward Snowden on "dangerous normalization of governing in the dark"; vs. dark sousveillance: disruptive staring and talking back as a form of argumentation and reading praxis

Crawley, Ashton, "Deformation, Information, On Formation," February 10, 2016: :
was quite caught by this piece about the "texture and weight" of noise
the idea that "noise is that which seems most off, but can perhaps be the foundation that transforms everything,"
that can inflect how we hear, and compel us to think through contradictions,
seems very deep-and-wide to me, something that i'm going to hold on to and distribute as possible
some take-a-ways:
"I work within an institutional practice that produces and is produced by racial capitalism, that digs its heels into the privatizing of public resources, an institution that promotes inequity...Under the guise of diversity and multiculturalism is the fact of the political economy of inequity."
so: i can be complicit and still engage in critical analysis:
"freedom is not a place but a practice, liberation is not something we can possess but only something in which we participate."
"the celebration of identity...of itself isn’t a radical or revolutionary thing....The question, the challenge, is this:
how does this celebration contribute to the work of justice and equity, to the alleviating of suffering?

Davies, Carole Boyce. Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject (New York: Routledge, 1994):
Introduction: re-negotiation of identity is fundamental to migration, and to writing in cross-cultural contexts: convergence of multiple places and cultures re-negotiates term sof experience-> identities; received geography limits our understanding of identities; interspersed "migration horror stories" interrupt discursive linearity
read Black women's writing as a series of boundary crossings, not fixed, geogrpahical, ethnically/nationally bound category of writing; Black womnes' subjectivity is migratory, existing in multiple locations
"Black" is relational, provisional, based on location/position, emerges as whiteness seeks to depoliticize/normalize itself; "African" also defining in opposition to "European" or "American"--political basis of all identity formation/interrogation
Tourist Ideology or "Playful World Travelling": Maria Lugones makes a necessary distinction between arrogant perception linked to racism, conquest and disrespect and loving perception allied with caring and identification. She speaks of exploring other cultural locations in a respectful way. Yet...even as I accept the necessity of engaging other cultures, I still find the language "playful world traveling" troubling. The Caribbean child that I was witnessed many tourists who seemed to be "playful world travellers" in my Caribbean city. We became the backdrop for their encounters. We were never fully thinking, acting beings. The Caribbean is too easily identified as the place of playful world travelling for us to engage that formulation without caution. (p. 23).

Ernest, John. Chaotic Justice: Rethinking African American Literary History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009):
Charles MIlls: there are issues of political power, not just mutual misconceptions resulting from the clash of cultures.
African American literature is kept so busy representing race..t.hat it is not given the opportunity to represent the race that extends beyond blackness and to retheorize the cultural order that constitutes race.
I insist...on an emphasis on the deep structures of the social order that "race" has both defined and justified historically and on the comunal networks that have formed over those deep structures (5).
The story I mean to tell has to do with the activist roots of African American literary history and therefore an understanding of literature devoted to interrogating the social order...and promoting concepts of justice beyond those imagined by most white sympathizers (8).
Many...scholars have worked over the years to prevent African Aemercian literature from being viewed simply as sociological--that is, an unremitting comment on the injustices that have defined the contours of black communities in the United States. I argue that this defense undermines the power of African American literature (10).
i contemplate a literary history the way that it functions within an unstable culture...and the way that it is read by readers always and at once both prepared and unprepared to understand it (11).
African American history has been so often gathered, preserved, and presented by way of fractal processes and fragmented narratives (13).
African American literary history has followed much the same route (14).
Henry Louis Gates Jrs.'s Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars (1992): "The teaching of the teaching of has become the teaching of an aesthetic and political order" (20).
Ch. 1: draw on chaos theory to argue against a simply ideological understanding of racial history and to explain the "fractal dimensions" of 19th-c Af Am approaches to narrative
my principal assumption is that all racial history in the US has emerged from attempts to define and promote a white supremacist social order
two applications of chaos theory:
the history of race is a complex series of contingent events, a process directing/directed by shifting racist ideologies (27)
early African American poetics represented overwhelming complexity
Clifford Geertz: "there are at least three points where chaos--a tumult of events which lack not just interpretations but interpretability--threatens to break in upon man: at the limtis of his analytic capacities, at that limits of his powers of endurance, and at the limits of his moral insight...Bafflement, suffering, and a sense of untractable ethical paradox are all...radial challenges to the proposition that life is comprehensible and that we can, by taking thought, orient ourselves effectively within it"
many in African American expressive culture...became..theorists of chaotic dynamics and process (28).
Ch 2 explores the complexity of self- or biographical representation, representing a life defined by race, resisting that definition, redirecting trajectory of possibilities of/settings for African American identity
Ch 3 discusses dangers of assuming that African American and white writers can easily be brought into conversation, in absence of a radical reconsideration of instabilities of cultural identity; this amounts to a ritualized reenactment of protocols of U.S. racial history
Ch 4 focuses on 19th c. laws of mobility and affiliation that directed the lives of African Americans, as choreographed in space and time
Ch 5 is case study of race as revised by the Civil War: in fulfillment of collective narrative of liberation and forceful reminder of the limits of a progressive narrative, African American autobiography changed dramatically, operating both outside antislavery context and withinnewly threatening, profoundly complex racial environment; historical contingencies continually reframe African American identity
Conclusion reviews historical demands on writers and readers, contingencies of social action: how will literature be changed by readers?
stakes are high: attend to communities defined not by simple narratives of race by "in terms of the possibilities of resistance conditioned by relations of power and purposeful, self-conscious effort to build comunity"
"chaotic justice": historically informed, ongoing negotation of overwhelming complexity, vicissitudes of society shaped by racial ideologies
Conclusion opens w/ concern about shift from Black Studies (emerging from U.S. social struggles) to Black Cultural Studies (with emphasis on transcultural, international experience and identity)
contrast political energies of current American literary/cultural studies scholarship with developing movement outside the academy, The Covenant with Black America, initiated by Tavis Smiley, which focuses on problems and opportunities in the coniditions that define African American identity, the world of contingencies that gives point/purpose to discussion of blackness

Chipaumire, Nora, "The black, African, female, body," TEDxCalArts (June 18, 2014):

"Creative Africa": tour with the curator, 6/22/16
cf. practices of "fine arts" and anthropology museums
"close looking": object is not being used to make a larger historical point
visual aspects are prioritized over cultural ones
African shows are often dark, earthy, w/ colors of sand and jungle;
the presentations are theatrical
here we see the values of openness: airy, contemporary, not packed too full
a sociologist was puzzled by constraint of "close looking,"
the connoisseurship of curators without training in the field
there is a debate between universities and musuems
and now, a return to art as art, with a focus on the original object
consider the educational vs. the curatorial approaches:
what are people here to learn and to experience?
there are different audiences
why the methodology is so foregrounded:
this is a collaboration of two museums
"everything is editing"
a typical Penn display case will integrate the figure, make it a functional object

love/hate relationships with community groups
problematics of community outreach/selective feedback
you can push people out of their comfort zone by putting blame on externals
having both an outside collection and outside curator pushed the institiona
their was no constituency within museum who felt strongly about the show
(trying, for instance, to rewrite the wall labels...)
a central principle here: objects are not finished, in flux, there's temporal fusion

Leo Stein: "shouldn't be learning but going on a picnic" (play!)
not told information, but urged to find it on your own
African Art is geared to specialists, connoisseurs
this exhibit aims to be more inviting/open to general visitors
close and comparative looking is esp. important 
in a colonial context; these objects were taken as history was destroyed
the object here is the primary source, with very little context given
"What in the World?":guess what the object is; what can you deduce?
labels are always inadequate, always a headache
the "Look Again" exhibit is an anchor for the contemporary work,
including the photographs of Akinbode Akinbiyi
it's intended to pique assumptions about what is being made today in urban spaces,
to create a dialogue between the old and the contempoary
the orientation of the musuem is that the
best-hung shows "make the methodology disappear"
here it doesn't, but is made explicit...
later: the horror of re-seeing the "hanging boys,"
and understanding the context (while the wall
plaque leads with the aesthetics...)

Glazener, Nancy. Literature in the Making (Oxford University Press, 2016):
By examining how literature emerged…I hope to loosen its hold on us and highlight our choices about what we wish to carry forward from or as literature as well as to examine features and effects of literature that ought to give us pause….the rhetorical drumroll that usually accompanies testimonials to literature can make it hard to notice how the category shapes our encounters with things we read and with each other…..As invention and institution, literature has…no settled definition…(3).

…may be consequential without being determinate…during the first half of the nineteenth century…its repertoire…narrowed, so that literature came to be associated with a particular set of imaginative genres rather than the tapestry of learned culture it had designated before…literature began as an important component of modern European culture, one of the apparatuses of imperial civilization that was gradually appropriated by may who had been excluded from it….Literature initially designated a body of valued texts (4).

More important than the boundary work of determining what counts as literature is the question of what it means to encounter something as literature…There’s…an ugly side…the power relations of imperial modernity are still at work…literary studies has not managed to forge an identity independent of canonicity…. The policing of literature usually involves the distribution of honor and contempt….Questions of literary value circulate incessantly (5).

literature’s cultural centrality has been shaken, so that we are less likely to take it for granted now than we were fifty years ago….literature…may be moving beyond its long intimacy with the book…cinema and television have offered modes of narrative absorption…similar to those valued in literature…print texts occupy a narrower tract…[in] a world in which literature will matter less ….people who are poor…will not find it easy to concentrate on reading…Literature depends on literacy education, and literacy education depends on people’s material security…literature…is one of the many [social goods] that cannot thrive among people who are barely subsisting. A good way to support literature would be to end poverty (6).

The critique of the nation-state as a rubric organizing intellectual and cultural production has brought into view literature’s transnational dimensions…it is less and less the case that “literature”…is a good way of naming the object of literary studies ….a way of collective invention is under way….The most promising two directions...are studies of affect and the commons….Affect studies reframes aesthetic apprehension se sensual, emotional, and bodily, never divorced from cognition and collective life, and the development of the commons as a touchstone for poltical analysis and action offers a new way to consider the public-oriented dimensions of literature (7).
print culture and public literary culture will have the upper hand…smudge the clean lines of aesthetic theory…point to the narrowness and conjectural nature of academic reading protocols….Anglophone literary studies was shaped profoundly by geopolitics (8).

...acknowledges the Internet’s challenge to the authority of experts and its potential to renew the collaboration between academic and lay readers that was widespread before the end of the nineteenth century. The Internet’s capacity to provide collaborative spaces and commons outside of academic channels, in addition to the egalitarian potential of its do-t-yourself methods… (9)

literature began as a category valuing older texts, legacy texts out of which canons were forged. Most…that circulated in the United States were British and Anglophone, supplemented importantly by an international supercanon (Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Milton, and Goethe). (11).

the United states was…culturally oriented toward Great Britain (12)
hopes and fears and longings about literature paralleled constructions of modernity (13)
it was also valued for stockpiling antidotes to modernity (15).
literary studies was diminished by being installed as a discipline in the research university…losses brought about by the creation of academic experts (18).
help us sty open to rethinking the public missions of higher education, the liberal arts, and literary studies (19).

6. Disciplinarity and Beyond
disciplinarity enables and constrains…provides shared vocabularies, understandings, and protocols that make it possible to take up complex questions and investigations…On the other hand, disciplinarity can routinize and standardize intellectual work in a way that merely manages intellectual questions (193).

Hartman, Saidiya, Lose Your Mother:  A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (New York: Farrar, Straus and Girous, 2007 ):
The most universal definition of the slave is a stranger...the perpetual outcas, the coerced migrant, the foreigner....Africans did not sell their brothers and sisters into slavery. They sold strangers; those outside the web of kin and clan relationships...In order to betray your race, you had first to imagine yourself as one. The language of race developed the context of the slave trade. The very term "slavery" derived from the word "Slav," because Eastern Europeans were the slaves of the medieval world.....It was not until the 16th and 17th centuries that the line between the slave and the free separated Africans and Euopeans and hardened into a color line. For Europeans, race established a hierarchy of human life, determined which persons were expendable, and selected the bodies that could be transformed into commodities. For those chained...race was both a death sentence and the language of solidarity. The vision of an African continental family...standing shoulder to shoulder...racial solidarity...expressed in the language of kinship because it both evidenced the wound and attempted to heal it. The slave wanted what had been severed: kin. Those in the diaspora translated the story of race into one of love and betrayal. finally dawned on me that those who stayed behind told different stories than the children of the captives dragged across the sea. Theirs wasn't a memory of loss or of captvity, but of survival and good fortune...they had eluded the barroccon..had been able to reconstruct shattered listening for my story I had almost missed theirs.
The fugitive's dream exceeded the borders of the continent; it was a dream of the world house...The bridge between the people of Gwolu and me was...the aspirations that fueled flight and the yearning for freedom...these shared dreams...might open a common road to a future in which the longings and disappointed hopes...might be African identity...could be elaborated only in the fight against slavery...the power of others to determine whether you lived or died....The legacy that I chose to claim was the fugitives' legacy...a dream of autonomy rather than nationhood...the dream of an elsewhere....

Hobson, Janell. Venus in the Dark: Blackness and Beauty in Popular Culture. New York: Routledge, 2005:
this study explores how the "Hottentot Venus" figure has shaped representations of blackness and contemporary artists...have reconfigured Baartman..and other black female subjects to interrogate a visual legacy of imperialist iconography...such imagery often requires an "aesthetic of resistance" aim is to articulate a transnational black feminist the larger realm of black diasporic identity, aesthetics, and politics...from a black cultural viewpoint, to not be endowed from behind is to be "lacking"...I end on a note of hope that such projects of representation will move us forward in imagining our bodies differently, and, by extension, envisioning social women's participation in artistic productions is necessary for transforamtions of is their access to media...

Holland, Sharon Patricia. The Erotic Life of Racism (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2012):
Racism defends us against the project of universal belonging, against the finidngs...of the human genome project.
"racism is ordinary"...everyday racism defines race
contemporary sexuality studies and queer theory rarely succeed in a thoroughgoing analysis of racist practice
Can work on "desire" be antiracist work? Can antiracist work think "desire"?
Racism requires one to participate in...a project of belonging if the work of producing racial difference(s) is to reach fruition.
I seek to mine the interstice between the insistence of critical race theory upon the "ordinary" in racist practice and the call by queer theroy for us to take care of the feeling that escapes or releases when bodies collide in pleasure and in pain...One of the chief arguements of my project is that race coheres in the everyday practice of family belonging...
It is my contention that we cannot get away from the black/white binary while thinking through the work of racism...calls to abandon the black/white dichotomy...often ignore the psychic life of "racisms" might simply be a misrecognition of the primary work of racism...the psychic life of racism can best be read in the context of the United States in the space where black and white intersect...we are by no means ready to give up the binary. It perfoms a fantastic service for us.
what happens when someone who exists in time meets someone who only occupies space? Those who order the world, who are world-making, master time...those who are perceived as having no world-making effects merely occupy space...the black appears as the antithesis of history (occupies space), the white represents the industry of progressiveness (being in time)....
in the conclusion I perform a reading of Jacquery Derrida's "The Last World of Racism"/"Racism's Last World" and his theory about "touch," on Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom
irving Howe on the consciousness of white men in Faulkner's novels: "Beneath the white man's racial uneasiness there often beats an impatience with the devices by which men keep themselves apart. Ultimately the whole apparatus of separation must seem too wearisome in its constant call to alertness, too costly in its tax on the emotions, and simply tedious as a brake on spontaenous life."
it is time to write a new chapter of our relation(s)..where the dangerous work of the everyday has some transformative (phenomenological?) remember what quotidian moves we must make in order to contain our racial feeling, and how the work of racism is important to that practice.

Holmes, Barbara A. Race and the Cosmos: An Invitation to View the World Differently (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2002): is now apparent that we cannot be reconciled to one another by using the langauge of oppression, victimization, and overcoming. We need new connections to universal and cosmic realities to divest oppressors of historical narrative advantages and to offer victims alternatives to entrenched and internalized narratives of violation. For besieged minorities and marginalized comunities locked into discussions of power and victimizaiton, scientific languages offer flashes of insight ..within the broader context of the cosmos (xvi).
This book suggests that liberation will not be found in utopian theological models, legal mandates, or social engineering projects. If the dialogue about race, identity, and the moral life is to be resurrected from the stylized jousting of weary opponents, it will need a language that includes clues about a complex universe that is wondrous and rife with uncertainty...I am suggesting that we view issues of race and liberation from the perspective of the cosmos (3).
The chapters in this book outline a proposed movement toward the rich rhetorical resources that cosmology and quantum physics offer a multicultural society....the concepts that emerge from recent findings in quantum physics emphasize uncertainty as an integral part of reality....human life on quantum and cosmic levels evinces a oneness that is not dependent on religious hope or social plan. It is an intrinsic element of a universe that is both staggering and healing in its human/divine scope (8-9, 11).
The density that we strive for in the community called beloved may be the matrix of the universe. "If the universe really is structured to organize itself spontaneously through time, drinking energy from its environment and bursting out in a new and novel creations, we should perhaps be less monolithic and idealistic in our view of what faith might draw from us. God not only seems to tolerate diversity, but to require it." Diversity may not be a function of human effort or justice. It may just be the sea in which we swim (147).

Jarrett, Gene Andrew, Ed. African American Literature Beyond Race: An Alternative Reader (New York: New York University Press, 2006):
Introduction: "Not Necessarily Race Matter"
African American literature should be defined in the broadest way possible
anthologies too often...allow race to overdetermine the idea of African American literature...
conribute to the idea that the canon...only portrays...racial realism
there is an ideological consistency in the exclusion of unconventional or anomalous texts from African American literary anthologies...
results from..a relationship between "a politics of representation in the canon" and "a democratic representational politics' in the U.S. academy...
long-standing and anxious practice in African Amercain control representations of the shield them from stereotypes and other kinds of racist contamination
African American Literature beyond Race..presents literary works that mark...moments of literay defiance...intriguing works that..became noncanonical
Ward Connerly complains of bookstore "racial profiling"; concern with the way race can operate as a metonym of literature at the price of ideology
paradigm of moving beyond race: Toni Morrison's keynote @ "Race Matters" conference in April 1994, reprinted as "Home":
a tradition that is at once "race-specific," free of "racial hierarchy," and a celebration of Amerinca cultural nationality:
"I prefer to think of a world-in-which-race-does-not matter as something other than a theme park, or a failed and always-failing dream, or as the father's house of many rooms. I am thinking of it as home."
anomalous texts: taxonomic counternormativity
raises questions about long-standing aesthetic devalution of popular fiction in academic literary studies; critical elitism
Blackness Studies has concentrated on the cultural logic of racial representation
historical contingency and ideological genealogy of "blackness" have determined the reading and writing of African American literature
Shelley Fisher Fishkin on "trangressive' African American literature, such as racial ambiguity in Morrison's "Recitatif" and Paradise
texts presented chronologically, from Frank Webb to Octavia Butler's "Bloodchild"

Jones, Suzanne W., Ed. Crossing the Color Line: Readings in Black and White (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2000):
a new collection of stories about relationships that cross the color line
no other medium is more effective than literature in allowing us to enter hte minds and hearts of people who are different from ourselves
"Misreadings," "Rereadings," and "New Readings," roughly chronological in evolution
"Misreadings" concern relationships between lower-class and working-class blacks and the white people who...
have authority over them, while the stories in "New Readings" involve relationships between blacks and whites of the middle and professional classes....
the likelihood of meaningful relationships...increases as the equations between race and class, race and power, change.
the protagonists of the stories in "Rereadings" eventualy realize their misperceptions about race...
In "Recitatif" Toni Morrison provokes readers to read without forerounding race, by undermining attempts to
racially identify her characters and by makingn their class differences starkly obvious.

King, Thomas.
The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2003):
I. "You'll Never Believe What Happened"
p. 9: they (family stories) control our lives
p. 10: w/in creation stories are relationships that help to define the nature of the universe and how cultures understand the world
p. 22: two creation stories, and two
different strategies for telling them-->
suggesting different values:
exuberance vs. authority/veracity;
cooperation vs. hierarchy; balance vs. competition
p. 25: dichotomous choice between sacred, secular
p. 26: Do the stories reflect the world as it truly is,
or did we simply start off with the wrong story?

p. 27: what kind of world might we have created w/ a story about a flawed,
understanding, sympathetic deity who needed advice and accepted help?
p. 29: how live your life differently, having heard this story??

II. You're Not the Indian I Had in Mind
Curtis's photographs of national fantasy about Indians:
creating authenticity/fixed identity, vs. Richard Throssel's imaginative acts
seeing what we expect to see: cultural rituals/lies
photographs are imaginative acts
racial reality-games designed to exclude: value of authenticity in rarity
creating social change through intellectual, artistic activity
stories made up to set the world straight

III. Let Me Entertain You
Ishi as museum specimen
on being a spokesperson: expert, vs. entertainment
"an apple," Uncle Tomahawk, performing in Aboriginal minstrel show
favorite stories re discovery, exploration, settlement (w/ Indians as souvenirs)
children's story w/ Coyote inventing Columbus to play baseball w/
(inventing history to make political point?)
Puritans creating stories needed to carry the day, w/ Indians "stupid as garden poles";
3 centuries later, made into cultural treasure, mythic figure: exotic, terrifying
performances of Charles Eastman, Pauline Johnson, Sitting Bull (vs. Crazy Horse)
article about King as urban Indian, contradictory first class and first nations
entertainment all you are left w/ when only defence is a good story
IV. A Million Porcupines Crying in the Dark

hopeful pessimist: stories as medicine to change the world:
told differently to cure or injure (Louis Owens' story of the long walk home; and suicide)
p. 95: surrounded by stories we can trace back to others, cultural cornerstones
oral literature not quantifiable; ethnocentric stumble over tribal pictographic systems
Scott Momaday on white insensitivity to language, and Native valuing of it
bibliography as eulogy; border as figment of imagination
The Deerslayer: "skin makes the man"=essence of racism: White Reason vs. Native Instinct
Native writers work in present; past too well populated/defended: trapped in time warp/dead
Now, where was I?
known world of Christianity as open door to Native universe:
p. 109: examine distinct/opposing good/evil;
imagine world of cooperation, not
p. 111: insane attempt to identify/destroy evil (Moby Dick)
meaning refracted by cosmology, shaped by cultural paradigms
making ketchup out of hail storm on the tomatoes; not worship but part of nature
p. 115: if you believe in maps
Canadians creating fiction for people they write about
Native schools of porcupines and china dolls, crying in the dark
narrative style privileges repetition, hyperbole, orality as storytelling strategies;
inventive, humorous, saving stories keep me alive

V. What Is It About Us That You Don't Like?
story of Coyote and the Duck feathers:
his insatiable appetite for Indian land, rights, resources, claims;
1887 Dawes Act: legislation reimagining tribes and tribal land;
stumble of 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (right to practice trad'l religion, govt, ed, land)
1953 Termination Act, stripping tribes of federal services and protection
who's allowed to be Indian? termination/enfranchisement legislation re:
status/non-status: blood quantum and two-generation cut-off clause
kind racism, fondness, suffocating paternalism:
unsuccessful authenticity, successful counterfeit successes
why gov't concern in defining Indianness?
sets Natives against one another; legal categories create enemies
deer culling in New Zealand

Afterwords: Private Stories

change the stories we live by: change our lives
compromising stories by printing them?
oral stories public w/ group audience, written ones private, for reading (but t.v.?)
cf. effective, enticing stories of drinking, failure to learn from Exxon Valez spill,
w/ a private story about letting down a close friend, whose child had FASD
we've created environmental, business, political ethics
Want a different ethic? Tell a different story...Potential ethics, seasonal, annual...
"I find it easier to tell myself the story of my failure as a friend...
than to have to live the story of making the sustained effort to help..."
[telling vs. living a story? telling a story in order not to change??]

Kolin, Philip C. and Harvey Young, Eds. Suzan-Lori Parks in Person: Interviews and Commentaries (New York: Routledge, 2014):

  • Shelby Jiggets, "Interview with Suzan-Lori Parks," Callallo, Spring 1996:
    Plays are about space to me...and say, fiction is about place. I think that one of hte things that led me to writing plays is the understanding I have inside about space, because I moved around so much when I was younger....maybe it's just the pageant of people through my life. you know, all the strange people not connected to any one backdrop (66-67).

  • John Marshall, "A Moment with...Suzan-Lori Parks, Playwright," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 26, 2003:
    JM: What was the genesis of your novel?
    SlP: It's a deep and revernt bow to William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, which also has characters on a journey dealing with a dead relative. So many of my plays have been about the dead. But the novel was really born in the landscape of West Texas, where we spent time when my father was with the Army in Vietnam. I love the big sky and arid landscape of that place. The characters came out of that landscape and the story came out of those characters. Then there was Faulkner's novel, which I had read eight years before....(111).

  • Jonathan Kalb, moderator, "Remarks on Parks I: A Hunter College Symposium on the Work of Suzan-Lori Parks," April 30, 2004:
    ...Suzan-Lori...was eager to distinguish her work in style from the more familiar domestic conventions of say, Lorraine Hansberry's Raisin in the Sun....Maybe that was because her teacher at Mount Holyoke was Jimmy Baldwin, the author of a famous essay called "Everybody's Protest Novel," in which he criticized...belligerent ideologizing in some black fiction writing....Parks's writing has always been as much a product of Western postmodernism as of African-American consciousness and the black experience, an unusual amalgam of the two.
    In this she had a literary prototype in Adrienne Kennedy, one of the earliest African-American women writers with more on her mind than race. "It's insulting," Suzan-Lori once said at a public symposium. "It's insulting when people say my plays are about what it's about to be balck, as if that's all we think about, as if our life is about that. My life is not about race. it's about being alive." And she added, "Why does everyone think white artists make art and black artists make statements? Why doesn't anyone ask me ever about form?"....Parks had been carefully schooled in the formalist breakthroughs of the postmodern school. Like other members of that movement, notably Gertrude Stein in The Making of Americans....for example, she is very preoccupied with deconstructing the English language....And she is deeply concerned with identity and how the presence of the Other helps both to define and to obscure our sense of ourselves....her work has been influenced a lot by music, both jazz and classical, from which she derives her concept of what she calls "repetition and revision"--that is to say, revisiting and revising the same phrases over and over again....But it cannot be denied that Suzan-Lori is also writing plays about race (154-155).

Lauter, Paul. "The Literatures of America: A Comparative Discipline," in Redefining American Literary History, ed. LaVonne Brown Ruoff and Jerry W. Ward, Jr. (New York: MLA, 1990), posted on-line November 13, 1995:

Morrison, Toni. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (New York: Vintage, 1993):
(The only short story I have ever written, “Recitatif,” is an experiment in the removal of all racial codes from a narrative about two characters of different races for whom racial identity is crucial.) (xi)

There is no romance free of what Herman Melville called “the power of blackness,” especially not in a country in which there was a resident population, already black, upon which the imagination could play; through which historical, moral, metaphysical, and social fears, problems, and dichotomies could be articulated. The slave population…offered itself up as surrogate selves for meditation on problems of human freedom, its lure and its elusiveness. This black population was available for meditations on terrors—the terror of European outcasts, their dread of failure, powerless, Nature without limits, natal loneliness, internal agression, evil, sin, greed (37-38).

I want to suggest that these concerns—autonomy, authority, newness and difference, absolute power—not only became the major themes and presumptions of American literature, but that each one is made possible by, shaped by, activated by a complex awareness and employment of a constituted Africanism. It was this Africanism, deployed as rawness and savagery, that provided the staging ground and arena for the elaboration of the quintessential American identity (44).

What was distinctive in the New [World] was, first of all its claim to freedom and, second, the presence of the unfree within the heart of the democratic experiment—the critical absence of democracy, its echo, shadow, and silent force in the political and intellectual activity of some not-Americans. The distinguishing features of the not-Americans were their slave status, their social status--and their color (48).

Africanism is the vehicle by which the American self knows itself as not enslaved, but free; not repulsive, but desirable; not helpless, but licensed and powerful; not history-less, but historical; not damned, but innocent; not a blind accident of evolution, but a progressive fulfillment of destiny (52).

Okun, Tema. "white supremacy." DRwORKS:
what catches me in this piece on identifying cultural norms is
* the sense of urgency that makes it difficult to take time to be inclusive
* the energy spent trying to make sure that people's feelings aren't getting hurt
* the emphasis on being polite
* that things that can be measured are more highly valued than things that cannot
* the worship of the written word (!)
* the belief that if something is going to get done right, I have to do it.
[naming my own white supremacist practices here]

Parker, Robert Dale. Chapter 7, “Material Choices: American Fictions and the Post-Canon,” in The Invention of Native American Literature (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003), 168-187:
What novels will you teach…is the usual question, but instead, I ask: what principles will you try to follow in choosing the novels you teach?
…in recent years the new self-consciousness about canonicity has led to the demise of selective histories of the American novel…the choice of books depends also on how we teach them and on how students receive them…The debate over which texts to assign is therefore only a beginning…It is not only that texts cannot be tied to particular values. Texts are also reversible….That…is no license for assigning anything however, for …we still read from within material conditions that carve particular—though not fully predictable—grooves into which our readings slide….we cannot select texts apart from selecting way s to read them…But…we cannot fully anticipate the unconscious ideological investments of … readings
….the standards for what is best will be formalist and political, aesthetic and cultural all at once and in overlapping and ever-shifting combinations. They will vary from reader to reader, era to era, occasion to occasion, culture to culture, and subculture to subculture…
As with the Indian tale in a traditionally organized course, “all these elements are missing or badly distorted in the classroom where the tale becomes an artifact of study” abstracted form the cultural world…the familiar might turn as strange …if we construct a distance to look from…
…culture that can seem natural to people with experience in college and university humanities courses is…ideology, which is why the project of canon rethinking is so crucial and yet so difficult. Curricular change…tends to be seen from the perspective of curricular control…but there is much in ourselves, our cultures, and our students to resist that force of will. The resistance is one of the material conditions of teaching, and in pondering over changes in what we study and teach we need to consider the resistance more patiently….
the crucial task of American indian to build an autonomous Indian tradition of scholarship and intellectualism that carries a viable conceptual alternative to Eurocentrism and its institutions…

Parks, Suzan-Lori, Interview, Academy of Achievement, June 22, 2007: :
[James Baldwin] was at the head of the table and just such a generous and brilliant spirit. I tell folks he taught me how to conduct myself "in the presence of the spirit"....meaning the spirit is an honored guest, and you welcome them into your life when they knock on the door. His whole life to me was about that, and he taught me that just by his example, just by sitting at the head of the table.....I'm a ham. I'm such a ham. I can't help it. I'm a ham. So when we sat at this beautiful table, this long table, and all 15 of us, the other writers, they would read their work, and they would read it as I suppose one should read a short story, beautifully voiced, like that, great really. But sometimes I'd get up and act it out, and I did this week after week. Every time it was my turn, I would sort of become a little more animated. I felt that's how it had to be read. It had to be lived. After a couple of weeks, he said, "Ms. Parks, have you ever thought about writing for the theater?" I thought he was telling me, "You're no good. Out of here. Go to the theater," like "Get thee to a nunnery." I didn't know what. I was devastated. But then as I rode home on the bus -- because classes were at Hampshire College, I rode the bus home -- I thought, "Well, maybe I'll start writing for the theater." I knew nothing about theater, nothing. I had seen a play or two, but hadn't taken a theater class at Mount Holyoke or anything like that. So I started writing for the theater, and I'm still writing for the theater today.

Piepenbring, Dan. "Sherlock Holmes Defends Civil Engineering, and Other News,"The Paris Review, February 20, 2015, accessed June 1, 2016,
Why is To Kill a Mockingbird so beloved? Probably just because everyone was forced to read it growing up—in reality, it’s a “white-trash gothic” that infantilizes blacks and demonizes poor whites: “The central struggle in To Kill a Mockingbird involves class, not race. The book’s theme is the class war within the white South between the noble gentry and the depraved poor. In a clever twist, thanks to the community’s racism the white underclass villain wins in court, but the gentry hero enjoys revenge at the end, thanks to a killing that is covered up by the local sheriff.
While we’re at it, we’ve made a mess of Huck Finn, too: “We persistently misread Twain’s messages on race and children for a simple reason: Americans still subscribe to many of the same myths and prejudices as their nineteenth-century ancestors. Twain’s novel is not a hymn to the carefree pleasures of a rustic childhood; it’s a barbed critique of precisely the sort of standardized education that has now led to the book’s adoption in countless classrooms … Common readings of the book are now trapped in the same sanctimonious clichés that Twain both punctured and perpetuated.”

Popova, Maria. "Junot Díaz on the Complexities Beneath the Blanket Term “Race,'" Brain Pickings, March 21, 2016, accessed June 5, 2016,
"I think you can’t have class without race. It’s called colonialism."
"...there is no transcending the human experience...most of us feel permanently displaced and savagely undone."
"People want to read stories by 'marginal artists' as universal in the exact wrong way....All art, because it scales to the disqualified from becoming a stand-in for a nation, or a time."
" is be involved in a conversation...where the relationship is determined by things more complicated than whether you like me or not."

Roberts, Dorothy, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (New York: Pantheon, 1997):
books on racial justice neglect reproductive rights; books on reproductive freedom neglect the influence of race;
few address the impact of governmental regulation of Black women's childbearing on the way Americans think about reproductive liberty
the book describes a long experience of dehumanizing attempts to control Black women's reproductive lives;
powerful link between race and reproductive freedom in America
belief that black procreation is the problem remains a major barrier to radical change in America
denial of Black reproductive autonomy serves the interests of white supremacy
central themes: regulating Black women's reproductive decisions has been a central aspect of racial oppression in America
control of Black women's reproduction has shaped the meaning of reproductive liberty in Amerca
we need to reconsider the meaning of reproductive liberty, take into account its relationship to racial oppression
dominant notion of reproductive liberty is limited by liberal ideals of individual autonomy and freedom from government interference; is primarily concerned with the interests of white, middle-class women; is focused on right to abortion
reproductive liberty must acknowledge that we make decisions within a social context, including inequalities of wealth and power: reproductive freedom is a matter of social justice, not individaul choice

Treitler, Vilna Bashi.
The Ethnic Project: Transforming Racial Fiction into Ethnic Factions (2013):
Race is a known fiction—there is no genetic marker that indicates someone's race—yet the social stigma of race endures. In the United States, ethnicity is often positioned as a counterweight to race, and we celebrate our various hyphenated-American identities. But Vilna Bashi Treitler argues that we do so at a high cost: ethnic thinking simply perpetuates an underlying racism.

In The Ethnic Project, Bashi Treitler considers the ethnic history of the United States from the arrival of the English in North America through to the present day. Tracing the histories of immigrant and indigenous groups—Irish, Chinese, Italians, Jews, Native Americans, Mexicans, Afro-Caribbeans, and African Americans—she shows how each negotiates America's racial hierarchy, aiming to distance themselves from the bottom and align with the groups already at the top. But in pursuing these "ethnic projects" these groups implicitly accept and perpetuate a racial hierarchy, shoring up rather than dismantling race and racism. Ultimately, The Ethnic Project shows how dangerous ethnic thinking can be in a society that has not let go of racial thinking.

Noting that science fiction is characterized by an investment in the proliferation of racial difference, Isiah Lavender III argues that racial alterity is fundamental to the genre's narrative strategy.

Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1, 1 (2012): 1-40.
Mawhinney analyzed the ways in which white people maintained and (re)produced white privilege in self-defined anti-racist settings and organizations. She examined the role of storytelling and self-confession - which serves to equate stories of personal exclusion with stories of structural racism and exclusion - and what she terms ‘moves to innocence,’ or “strategies to remove involvement in and culpability for systems of domination”….identify and argue against ”the race to innocence,” “settler moves to innocence”…so that we can be more impatient with one another..
I. Settler nativism (the Indian-grandmother complex) is an attempt to deflect settler identity
Through the one-drop rule, blackness in settler colonial contexts is expansive, ensuring that a slave/criminal status will be inherited by an expanding number of ‘black’ descendants.Yet, Indigenous peoples have been racialized in a profoundly different way. Native Americanness is subtractive: Native Americans are constructed to become fewer in number and less Native, but never exactly white, over time….a racialization that portrays contemporary Indigenous generations to be less authentic, less Indigenous….logic of reproduction vs. logic of elimination
II. settler adoption; III colonial equivocation (“we are all colonized; none of us are settlers”)--why certain minorities can become model and quasi-assimilable), yet revert to the status of foreign contagions;
IV. Decolonizing the mind (stand in of cultivating critical consciousness, without action)
Friere took a sharp right turn away from Fanon, in settler fantasy of mutuality based on sympathy and suffering, positioned as liberation, redemption
decolonization specifically requires the repatriation of Indigenous land and life. Decolonization is not a metonym for social justice
the pursuit of critical consciousness…can be settler moves to innocence—diversions, distractions, which relieve the settler of feelings of guild and responsibility, and conceal the need to give up land or power or privilege
white harm reduction models --. Settler harm reduction
V. At risk/asterisked people: invisibilized, body count
VI. re-occupation and urban homesteading:
questioning the “right” to occupation—profoundly colonial view
decolonization would reverse the timeline of invasion and occupation,
eliminate settler property rights and sovereignty
decolonization as material, not metaphor: solidarity in what is incommensurable,
leading to strategic, contingent collaborations
critique of place-based env’l education….
ethic of incommensurability, in cf.  to reconciliation, which motivates moves to innocence, normalcy, rescuing a settler future
decolonization not accountable to settlers, but to Indigenous
unsettling, not complementary, not “and” but elsewhere

Vernallis, Carol, Experiencing Music Video: Aesthetics and Cultural Context (Columbia University Press, 2004):
Intro: distinct genre, different from fil, tv, photography
musical n dvisual codes, artistic practice and ideological apparatus
music comes first, then images designed songs in mind
video must sell the song, is responsible to it, gives up its autonomy to follow the song—
sense that anything can happen/disorienting style
continuum from narrative to fundamentally antinarrative/postmodern pastiche that defies narrative conventions; using Hollywood film techniques
much more frequent edits than in film, providing rhythmic accent against song’s beat; assimilates/extends iconography of pop star
strictest, most pervasive convention: flattering depiction of the singer lipsyncing the song;
stylized as omniscient narrator, part of story, isolated from world of video
figures do not speak; variety of meanings of silence
place is usually generic (beach, concert hall, apt, bar, street corner); heightened importance of props; “shimmer” of lyrics
Ch 1: Telling and Not Telling
music videos follow the song’s form:
cyclical, episodic, not sequential; consider, don’t enact a topic;
intent is to draw attention to the music, not have it recede
holds back information, with ambiguous, unclear depictions
must showcase star, reflect lyrics, underscore the music
Ch 9: Connections Among Music, Image, and Lyrics
sight isolates, sound incorporates (situating observer outside; vs. pouring into the hearer; fixed vs. more processual)
in music video, images adopt phenomenological
qualities of sound: surround, engulf, are propulsive like music
lyrics are subservient to images and music

Willie-LeBreton, Sarah, Ed. Transforming the Academy: Faculty Perspectives on Diversity & Pedagogy (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2016).
Michael D. Smith and Eve Tuck, "Decentering Whiteness: Teaching Antiracism on a Predominantly White Campus":
Patricia Williams describes antiracist boundary crossing from "safe circle to wilderness," as "the willingness to spoil a good party," as knowing that "everything has changed and yet that nothing has changed." At the heart of this essay is a desire to interrupt the politics of representation as usual, a willingess to forgo the relative safety of keeping quiet (14).
In one introductory course that we both teach, Michael takes an inward-out approach, while Eve takes an outward-in approach..Michael's version..asks students to begin with their own biases and assumptions....Eve's version...invites students to study racism as a social pehnomenon, to identify it "out there" (24).
Singleton and Linton (2006)  attempt to provide individuals who would do this work with "four agreements" necessary for participation in"courageous conversations about race." They suggest that participants in such conversaitons agree to (1) "stay engaged" in the converation, (2) recognize that there will be moments in which they will "experience discomfort," (3) "speak [their] truth and honor others' truths, and (4) expect and accept that such conversations may not end with "closure" (34).
Critical conversations about race that occur in (racially) mixed company appear to be fairly rare in our students' daily lives....interpersonal contact is the best way to reduce prejudice between minority and majority groups that are in conflict (35).
Pato Hebert, "What You May Not See: The Oscillating Critique":
"Art and politics are connected in at least one fundamental respect; both are areas in which a struggle for recognition is being waged." Art and politics are means to test our legibility, vitality, and viability--to ourselves, with one another, and in relation to institutions (73).
British curator Susan Bright (2010) has observed that "the author of a self-portrait is always presenting an impossible image, as he or she can never mimetically represent the physical reality that other people see. The 'self' therefore is always in some respects also an 'other'"....I like to scrutinize these ideas with students by giving a self-portrait assignment that asks them to deepen their consideration of who they are and how they are each perceived by others....: "Create three self-portraits....At least one print must involve photographing your own self/body. A second image must address (counter?) a misperception that people have of you. A third image must reveal something about you that people do not usually see" (75).
Bright reminds us, "The body is still commonly used a a political vehicle in much self-portraiture, and artists often use their own boides as a ready-to-hand model to express abstract or non-narrative concepts. The human body's relationship to space, land, history, age, race, religion, sexuality and gender is often explored in visceral ways" (76).
Sarah Willie-LeBreton, "The Professor, Her Colleague, and Her Student":
In any predominantly white or predominantly male organization...women and people of color stand out and, when they speak, sound louder than others, since their often new and unusual....attention is disproportionatly drawn to those who appear part, paradoxically, because their numbers are small (89).
Kristin Lindgren, "The (S)paces of Academic Work: Disability, Access, and Higher Education":
little value is placed on human diversity in the form of bodies and minds that differ from what we conceive of as normative. The daily lives of most disabled people require inventiveness, creative interdependence, and artful navigation of the built environment....variability in human form and function...give rise to creativity and new knowledge (114).
Anna Ward, "Queer Affects/Queer Access":
Sarah Ahmed's work...interrogates how certain affects stick to marginalized positionalities. In The Promise of Happiness, Ahmed calls for "suspending the belief that happiness is a good thing" in order to understand how happiness becomes a normalizing requirement imposed on marginalized communities in order to stem critique. She argues, "The demand for happiness is increasingly articulated as a demand to return to social ideals, as if what explains the crisis of happiness is not the failure of these ideals but our failure to follow them".... this demand is burdening marginalized subjects with the responsiblity for the happiness of the priviledged. The "killjoy" critique that Ahmed has become known for, "feminist killjoys" in particular, is "the idea that there is a necessary and inevitalbe relationship of dependence between one person's happiness and the happiness of others" and that killjoys prevent the happiness of others by...refusing to be made happy by relations of inequality....To register unease, discomfort, unhappiness, sadness, or anger is to be cast out from the realm of neutrality, objectivity, and rationality (130).
Theresa Tensuan, "A Dean's Week: 'Trapdoors and Glass Ceilings'":
...a real-life, real-time working through of the query James C. Scott (1990) poses at the outset of Domination and the Arts of Resistance: "How do we"...negotiate..."the power relations when the powerless are often obliged to adapt a strategic post in the presence of the powerful, and when the powerful may have an interest in overdramatizing their reputation and mastery"? (186)
...a student...from a...small town...asked if she was enjoying a class taught by..a brilliant raconteur, said, "It's weird--I've never been a place where someone can speak for twenty minutes without being interrupted"....the student helped me understand the ways in which what we envision as a robust intellectual exchange can be, in fact, simply a one-way monologue. One of the challenges that my colleagues and I face is whether we can separate out such elitist assumptions and practices from our collective commitment to excellence whereby students can offer new models and models of understanding and animating the world, and can literally as well as figuratively articulate new--
I'm interrupted by a knock at the door. My protected time is over. As a full time professor...I was sometimes able to finish a thought, or speak or write for twenty mintues without being interrupted, but for me now as a dean, crises seem to come every seventeen minutes (191-192).
...the coin of the realm for tenure is the literal weight of one's promote summer teaching as valuable college service is disingenous if such...service isn't truly valued....I think about this in relation to an emerging conversation about how experiential learning and community engagement might be incorporated into the graduation requirements, thus ascribing value to a key aspect of community life in which there is a disproportionate number of students from underrepresented communities in leadership roles. This is espcailly important in campus communities where faculty labor is often cast hierarchically, in which scholarship is valued over teaching, which is valued over servcie, which is itself almost a dirty word. indeed, could a reevalution of the distribution requirements (which function as the curricular DNA of the college) be a springboard for reframing the values that undergird institutional practices such as the expectaiotns for tenure? I want to resist the vision of...a zero-sum game in which resources put into one arena are resources denied another, where there are winners cakewalking down the center of the dance hall while the losers are leaning up against the wall, plotting their eventual revenge (193).
Sarah Willie-LeBreton, "Conclusion":
...we welcome the conversation that follows (207).

Other Possibilities
Suzan-Lori Parks, In the Blood (1999), Fucking A (2000), or Topdog/Underdog (2001)
Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (Greywolf Press, 2014)

Beyoncé, "Formation," February 6, 2016, accessed April 12, 2016,

Joyce Chen, ‘SNL’ Takes on Beyonce’s ‘Formation’ in Hilarious Sketch About ‘The Day Beyonce Turned Black’: Watch," USWeekly, February 14, 2016, accessed April 11, 2016,

James Baldwin, "A Talk to Teachers" (1963; rpt.The Price of the Ticket, Collected Non-Fiction 1948-1985. Saint Martin's Press, 1985).

-----. "The Discovery of What It Means to Be an American" and "The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy" in Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son (1963)

----- and Nikki Giovanni. A Dialogue (1973)

-----. "Everybody's Protest Novel." 1949; rpt. Norton Critical Edition of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, ed. Elizabeth Ammons. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994. 495-501.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) and/or Go Set a Watchman (Harper, 2015)

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)

Shelley Fisher Fishkin, "In Praise of  “Spike Lee’s Huckleberry Finn” by Ralph Wiley"

William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929), Light in August (1932), Absalom, Absalom (1936), Go Down, Moses (1938)

John Jeremian Sullivan, "How William Faulkner Tackled Race and Freed the South From Itself," New York Times Magazine, June 28, 2012,

Doreen Fowler and Ann Abadie, Faulkner and Race (1987),

Raisin in the Sun vs. immigrant living spaces…

Tillie Olsen, "Oh Yes!"