Thursday, March 9, 2023

Geotagging + Locations

By Kenton Rambsy

Cultural geo-tagging illuminates what we are witnessing regarding positioning, location, mapping, and geographic matters in the works of Black writers. By incorporating a range of distinct places and spaces in their works, Black writers reveal that the sites where stories occur are central to the compositions.

I created a dataset that identifies the geographic locales as well as place settings in the most frequently republished stories by the Big 7. This dataset enables me to perform a comparative analysis and identify which kinds of locales are frequently utilized by these seven writers.

Works by Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Toni Bambara, and James Baldwin show characters sitting on front porches in a rural Florida town, swimming in a lake in Mississippi, running along Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan, and riding in a cab in New York City, respectively. Walker presents a family home in rural Georgia. Baldwin depicts a jazz club in Greenwich Village, and Bambara sets a story in the FAO Schwartz Toy Store on Fifth Avenue. African American short story writers have charted fairly succinct tales across numerous settings and geographic regions.

Geo-tagging or classifying a rather large body of spatial locations and information in numerous short stories makes it clear how often Black writers are utilizing landmarks and locales in the course of presenting narratives.

This entry is part of a series--A Notebook on The Geographies of African American Short Stories.

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