P. Gabrielle Foreman's article "A Riff, A Call, and A Response" addresses, among other issues, the problem of African American literary scholars being excluded from some recent gatherings on African American print culture and editing.
Some of the issues discussed by Foreman reminded me of a central point in Leon Jackson's article "The Talking Book and the Talking Book Historian: African American Cultures of Print -- The State of the Discipline" from Book History published in 2010. According to Jackson, book history scholars and African American literary scholars have been distant from each other for a number of reasons.
Some of that distance is reflected in the idea that orality and performance were long pervasive focal points in African American literary studies. Those focal points assisted in determining that book history and African American literary scholarship would develop in notably different ways.
And sure, there have always been scholars of African American literature who concentrate on book history, print culture, and matters of production. However, you still get the sense that their works and presentations did not circulate so widely and thus did not become integral to book history. There's a similar history concerning why editorial theorists and scholars of African American literature are distant. And a similar one now with the field of digital humanities.
None of what I'm saying here excuses the exclusion that Foreman highlights, but it does, I hope, provide some insight into how and why we now have those divisions.
• Notes on P. Gabrielle Foreman's "Riff, Call, and Response" Pt. 1
• Notes on P. Gabrielle Foreman's "Riff, Call, and Response" Pt. 2
• The Demographics of Literary fields (and sub-fields)
• From Maryemma Graham to more Af-Am Literary Field Notes
• Digital humanities, print culture & African American literary studies