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

African American Literature II

Session Chair: 
Benjamin Foster, Portland Community College
Session 9: Saturday 3:35-5:05pm
Salon I (ET)


  1. Lindsay Baltus, University of California at Davis
    This paper argues that Octavia Butler’s 1993 speculative novel Parable of the Sower can be read as a self-reflexive story about the political possibilities and limitations of communication technologies. Butler speculates that textual—and especially handwritten—media could work simultaneously as survival tools for embodied subjects and as critical frameworks to suggest an understanding of the human that links past and future.
  2. Martin Japtok, Palomar College
    Marshall's "Barbados", though it invites a reading as a classic nationalist allegory, also explores the complexities and ambiguities of liberationist nationalism, ambiguities that play themselves out everywhere where collaboration and/or dissent is punished by persecution or death in the name of liberation from an oppressive West and an elusive “whiteness.”
  3. Zahra Hamdani, Kinnaird College for Women Lahore (Pakistan)
    This paper addresses intersections between African American and postcolonial theory through a reading of Octavia Butler’s Kindred that fictionalizes chattel slavery in the antebellum South and its connections to the 1970s America. It highlights the symbiotic nature of relationships between African Americans and white settlers on both ends of the power and gender spectrum in ways that highlight forces of US internal colonialism rather than those of colonialism more generally and thus complicates the portrayal of African Americans as a hybrid community.
  4. Ingrid Diran, Pacific Northwest College of Art
    This essay rethinks Jean Toomer’s political legacy by locating, within his apparent abdication of literary and racial investment after Cane, an expanded critique of both white and Western supremacy. It argues that Toomer’s spiritual teacher, George Gurdjieff, was paramount to this shift insofar as he represented a post-Western philosophical syncretism.
Session Cancelled: