Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Broadcasting African American literary studies

Like many scholars of African American literature, Courtney Thorsson produces works for readers. She wrote Women's Work: Nationalism and Contemporary African American Women's Novels (2013), the forthcoming The Sisterhood: How A Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture (2023), and several articles. 

Alright, but what if, in some instances, Thorsson's work on black literature was for listeners?

That's something I've considered recently as I thought about Remarkable Receptions, a podcast project produced by Liz Cali and me. "The Sisterhood, 1977 photograph," written by Thorsson, is our most viewed heard episode. We've produced over 65 episodes
The idea of broadcasting African American literary studies, as opposed to publishing books and articles, raises new or alternative possibilities. What happens when someone listens to an episode about Toni Morrison or Zora Neale Hurston or Colson Whitehead as opposed to reading an article about the writers and their works? How does accessing black literary history on Spotify or Apple Podcasts rather than in a literary journal affect knowledge and engagement? 

These are a couple of questions that I'm now inclined to raise as a result of this project.


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