Extensive study deploying black feminist archival work, theory, and criticism to illustrate the range of black women’s intellectual history produced during the Harlem Renaissance. The author discusses figures such as Bessie Smith and Josephine Baker alongside prominent and lesser-known African American women writers of the period.
This timely volume embraces and interprets the increasingly broad and deep canon of life narratives by African Americans. The contributors discover and recover neglected lives, texts, and genres, enlarge the wide range of critical methods used by scholars to study these works, and expand the understanding of autobiography to encompass photography, comics, blogs, and other modes of self-expression. This book also examines at length the proliferation of African American autobiography in the twenty-first century, noting the roles of digital genres, remediated lives, celebrity lives, self-help culture, non-Western religious traditions, and the politics of adoption.
The life narratives studied range from an eighteenth-century criminal narrative, a 1918 autobiography, and the works of Richard Wright to new media, graphic novels, and a celebrity memoir from Pam Grier.
Molefi Kete Asante, Temple University
“…the essays collected in this volume will offer a scholarly and critical examination of as a contribution to the African American autobiographical tradition; as the place where several important historical and cultural threads meet and mingle; as what will surely become a key document in the American conversation on race and identity.”