Ideologies Of African American Literature

by Robert Washington

Published: October 2001
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Pages: 382
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780742509498

       

Overview of Ideologies Of African American Literature

This book embarks on new intellectual terrain as the first systematic and theoretically grounded sociological study of African American literature. It examines the impact of race relations, as well as other social and political forces, on the development of the dominant ideological outlooks of African American literature. Spanning the fifty year period from 1920 to 1970, encompassing the mass northern movement, urbanization, and modernization of the African American community, and culminating in the civil rights revolution, it is the first sociological study that situates black literary discourse, and the major black American literary intellectuals (e.g. Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka), in the social and political developments of American race relations. By analyzing the formation, influence, and decline of each of the five dominant schools of black literary discourse over those five tumultuous decades, it explains how black literary production not only reacted to but also was shaped and constrained by the racial caste system. The book concludes with a theoretical chapter that links the dominant black literary outlooks to white American culture. Rejecting the simplistic notion that all cultural expression by black Americans reflects the community's social consciousness, this theoretical discussion sets forth a comparative analytical framework for understanding the social locations and functions of the different spheres of African American cultural production.

Synopsis of Ideologies Of African American Literature

This book challenges the long-held assumption that African American literature aptly reflects black American social consciousness. Offering a novel sociological approach, Washington delineates the social and political forces that shaped the leading black literary works. Washington shows that deep divisions between political thinkers and writers prevailed throughout the 20th century.

About the Author, Robert Washington

Robert E. Washington is professor of sociology at Bryn Mawr College.

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Editorials

Choice

An extremely impressive book offering a provocative interpretation that is certain to be discussed and argued about.

Ethnic and Racial Studies

This thoroughly informative book not only expands our understanding of African American literature but also challenges future scholarship.

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