Tuesday, October 6, 2015

MELUS and African American Print Cultures

The special issue of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States journal (MELUS) focusing on African American print cultures edited by friend and frequent collaborator Joycelyn Moody and I was recently published. We've been working on the issue for some time now, so I was pleased to see this issue on print culture come into print.

I've been thinking about the interplay of modes of production with African American literary art for years. So much of my first book The Black Arts Enterprise was on that subject. However, until recently, I almost never used the phrase "print culture" and "African American print cultures" to describe what I was studying.  

The increasing use of the concept of print culture studies in the scholarly discourse on black literature and literary history was helpful for me making additional connections across the field, or more accurately, across the many sub-fields of African American literary studies.

For example, in our special issue, we have Shanna Greene Benjamin discussing the making of the Norton Anthology of African American literature;  Jerry W. Ward, Jr. reflecting on how Hurricane Katrina destroyed his personal book collection; Shirley Moody-Turner examining the gender politics of publishing in relation to Anna Julia Cooper and W. E. D. Bu Bois; and MichaĆ«l Roy analyzing slave narratives from a book-history perspective. And there's more. African American print culture studies served as the connective thread.

Notebook on MELUS and African American Print Culture

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