Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog


This is the discussion blog for Black Women Writers, a course in English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies taught by Dr. Carina Hoffpauir at Southwestern University.  This semester we’re reading works by Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tayari Jones, and Jesmyn Ward.  Each week, members of the class will be blogging their reactions to the material and reflecting on related issues and events.

Our course provides an overview of African-American women’s writing in the post civil rights era.  In 1977, Barbara Smith in “Toward a Black Feminist Criticism” petitioned for establishing a body of literature that “embodie[d] the realization that the politics of sex as well as the politics of race and class are interlocking factors.”  Our analysis will investigate these intersections between race, class, and gender in contemporary black women’s writing, exploring oppression and the assertion of equality.  We will also think about the ways in which African American women writers have represented the political goals of the civil rights movement, Black Power, feminism(s), multiculturalism, and globalism.

If you’re in the class, please contribute: 1) a weekly discussion post about your own thoughts; and 2) a response to another classmate’s post.  This writing is informal, but should also be respectful.  In order to receive credit for the week, you must post before 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.


3 thoughts on “About

  1. Sounds like an awesome class! My friend who wants to be a writer studied creative writing at Champlain College in in New England. And He never heard of the “Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, or even the writer herself despite having the Nobel prize and Pulitzer Prize… is it true that someone as prominent as toni morrison wouldn’t have been read or studied in a common english lit or creative writing class?

    • Hi! Welcome!

      Sadly, I do think it could be true. A curriculum that adheres to very traditional notions of canon (meaning writers that are largely dead, white, and male) might overlook someone like Morrison, even given her popularity and success. I like to believe that this is changing at most institutions and in the profession as a whole, but I’m not surprised to hear it still exists. And for every institution that includes Morrison, I’ll bet there are still struggles to see representation from lesser known African-American female authors. (I don’t mean to suggest it’s not just a black/white problem. In general, these forms of marginalization also extend to female writers and writers of color as a whole).

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