Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Podcasting and African American literary studies

This year, as part of a Mellon-funded project, I created a podcast project Remarkable Receptions, and began co-editing it with my colleague Elizabeth Cali. The project gave us opportunities to contribute to African American literary studies in new, exciting ways. 

For a few years while actively listening to podcasts and audiobooks, I wondered about something: "where's the audio commentary on black authors and literary history?" So when I got a chance to pitch ideas for a project, I offered my plan for a podcast.

Back in 2016, I published an article, "The Remarkable Reception of Ta-Nehisi Coates," where I'm tracing the responses to an author's work. I kept thinking on that notion of "remarkable receptions" and made it the basis for the podcast. 

So far, we've had 24 different scholars contribute to the episodes. We've written about Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Colson Whitehead, and Jesymn Ward, to name a few. We also had episodes on novels adapted into movies like The Color Purple, and episodes on comic book characters like Green Lantern and Storm.

The scripts for the episodes are read by voice actors. So far, we've mostly done episodes that are about three minutes long. We're mostly trying to give listeners bits and pieces of African American literary studies and history. 


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