Thursday, November 15, 2018

The absence of "black men writers" in dissertations

One of the most widely viewed entries on my blog is "Black men writers and creativity, 1995 - 2016." The popularity of the piece has to do with the fact in part that there are relatively few projects that focus on the phrase "black men writers." I was reminded of this idea as I did searches on ProQuest Dissertations recently.

A search for "black women writers" reveals that the phrase is mentioned in 2,806 dissertations from 1974 - 2018. However, the phrase "black men writers" only appears 11 times during that same time period. The phrase "black women poets" appears in 128 dissertations, and the phrase "black men poets" does not appear in any.

People regularly cover Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka, and so forth. So I know that black men writers are studied. Yet, the phrase "black men writers" is rarely used.

There's apparently not been as much of a concerted effort to theorize and write about the connectivity of "black men writers" like we do with "black women writers" as a concept and group. I get it too, by the way with the historical erasure and downplaying of creative contributions by black women writers. Still, the absence of the phrase "black men writers" caught my attention.

A Notebook on ProQuest Dissertations and Theses

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