Remixing Literary History With Paul Beatty

[By Crystal Boson] Paul Beatty’s White Boy Shuffle often serves as a poignant satire about the modern role of the cultural mulatto and the destination of the search for communal bonding and self-identification. The novel blends elements of literary theory’s latest darling, postmodern theory, cultural displacement, alternative African American religion, and popular culture. An initial focus on the power of basketball as a social lubricant […]

The Great Migration

[By Kenton Rambsy] Utilizing a database of 100 novels reveals useful ways of considering the central topic of migration in African American literature. Mapping novel settings and the movements of protagonists across different geographic locations provides general readers and scholars important opportunities to consider how migration has emerged in the literary imagination of black novelists. The Great Migration’s movements of two million African Americans from […]

Post-modernism and Ishmael Reed

[By Crystal Boson] Utilizing a database of 100 novels reveals useful ways of considering the importance of literary postmodernism in African American literature. Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo can be considered to be Black Postmodernism’s torchbearer. It provides the reader with a highly complex narrative that blends genre and theme. Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo blends elements of the classic detective novel with African American Folklore, iconography, […]

100 Novels: Trend Analyses Project

[By Kenton Rambsy] The Project on the History of Black Writing’s extensive collection of African American novels presents scholars with numerous opportunities to examine history, culture, and politics of black literary art. Over the last six months, members of HBW have gathered data on a group of 100 African-American-authored novels—from Williams Wells Brown’s Clotel; or, the President’s Daughter (1853) to Terry McMillan’s Getting to Happy […]

Introducing the HBW Blog

[By Kenton Rambsy] The Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW) has been in the forefront of research and inclusion efforts in higher education for twenty-five years. Founded in 1983 at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, HBW has over 900 novels in its collection published by African American authors since William Wells Browns Clotel; or, the President’s Daughter (1853). The ultimate goal of the […]