113th Annual Conference - Portland, Oregon
Friday, November 6 - Sunday, November 8, 2015

African American Literature I

Session Chair: 
Maude Hines, Portland State University
Session 8: Saturday 1:45-3:15pm
Salon I (ET)


  1. Yumi Pak, California State University San Bernardino
    This paper argues that Toni Morrison's God Help the Child is a text steeped in violence. Rather than perpetuating a cycle of violence, however, I argue that Morrison's most recent novel in fact addresses violence as a force which possesses the capacity to unmoor geography, time and identity. In other words, I argue that the novel is not about the repetitive nature of violence, but rather about its capacity to cause structural harm. 
  2. Jeannine King, Saint Mary's College of California
    The essay explores the uses of apocalyptic time, imagery and theology in Frederick Douglass’ speeches and narratives.  Douglass embodied the inherent conflict of the African-American messianic tradition: oppression by American social institutions and immersion in the mainstream of American messianic culture.  His work reflects the tension of being a black prophet and the abolitionist golden child, between violent justice and reconciliation in the spirit of progress.  As such, it is a distinctly American voice.
  3. Jerry Rafiki Jenkins, Palomar College
    I argue in this paper that Brandon Massey’s Dark Corner (2004), a black vampire novel set in Mississippi during the early 2000s, offers a critque of the gendered notions of racial purity and dilution found in, parsaphrasing Richard Iton, the masculine Africa narrative.   
  4. Alexandria Lockett, Spelman College
    Although many scholars have acknowledged that Zora Neale Hurston's interdisciplinary writing about Voodoo and conjure tales is innovative and culturally significant, few works examine the literary and rhetorical implications of reading Hurston's text as "ethnic literature" (Baker; Dutton; Finn; Harrison; Hill; Lamonthe; Schroeder; Wall).  This paper will focus on how Hurston's treatment of conjure offers a critical methodology for studying what is "ethnic" about literature. 
Session Cancelled: