ICYMI: The Last 2 Weeks in Black Writing and Culture (3/26-4/15)

The works of female artists are being featured in a resurgence of “women’s only” or “group show” exhibitions across the country. Though the practice fell out of favor after the 1970’s and 1980’s, some curators are calling this reviving trend a “curatorial corrective,” while female artists bristle at the thought of a “one and done” mentality that will not shift the overall landscape of the […]

Considering and Reconsidering Black Studies: A Dialogue Between Jerry Ward and Abdul Alkalimat

In July, we shared a post by Jerry Ward on the main HBW website regarding Introduction to Afro-American Studies: A People’s College Primer (1973) and African American Studies 2013: A National Web-Based Survey (2013). This post has since invited a response from Abdul Alkalimat, primary author of both documents. The HBW Blog would like to share this dialogue and open it up for further commentary […]

The Gifts of Black Prisoners

[By Jerry W. Ward, Jr.]  Just as DuBois’s The Gifts of Black Folk (1924) is overshadowed by The Souls of Black Folk (1903), the long shadows of our classic slave narratives obscure the importance of studying other autobiographical forms in efforts to write more expansive histories of how African Americans have used literary and literature or black writing in English since the 18th century. Accidental […]

African American Literature and Humanism

[By Goyland Williams] For quite some time now, I have been thinking critically about African American Literature and Religion. Drawing largely upon the works of James Baldwin, I have found this enterprise to be fascinating and complex. Given the historical context and religious experiences of black people in America, it is no surprise that traces of religion appear a great deal in black writing.  James […]

Ntozake Shange and The Role of Language

[By Goyland Williams] By now, many of you may have read the piece on Ntozake Shange by the New York Times. But, if you have not, then it is definitely worth the read. In the interview, Shange talked about her latest book of “choreoessays” turned theatrical show, “Lost in language and Sound: Or How I Found My Way to the Arts.” Taking lines from one of her […]

Loss and The Katrina Papers

[By Goyland Williams] In her afterword to David Eng and David Kazanjian’s edited collection of essays entitled, Loss: The Politics of Mourning, Judith Butler notes, “On the one hand, there is the loss of place and the loss of time, a loss that cannot be recovered or recuperated but that leaves its enigmatic trace.” She continues, ” And then there is something else that one cannot “get […]

Unghosting African American Literature

[By Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Unghosting, as the word is used in the title of Frank X. Walker’s recent collection of poems, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers (2013), might refer to connotations of “recovery” in the work of criticism and literary history. Aware that “recovery” is a subjective action, we can strengthen our work by exploiting that subjectivity more than we normally do. […]