Examines racial segregation in literature and the cultural legacy of the Jim Crow era.
As a touchstone issue in American history, segregation has had an immeasurable impact on the lives of most ethnic groups in the United States. Primarily associated with the Jim Crow South and the court cases Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Brown v. Board of Education (1954), segregation comprises a diverse set of cultural practices, ethnic experiences, historical conditions, political ideologies, municipal planning schemes, and de facto social systems. Representing Segregation traces the effects of these practices on the literary imagination and proposes a distinct literary tradition of representing segregation. Contributors engage a cross section of writers, literary movements, segregation practices, and related experiences of racial division in order to demonstrate the richness and scope of responses to segregation in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By taking up the cultural expression of the Jim Crow period and its legacies, this collection reorients literary analysis of an important body of African American literature in productive new directions.
“By defining key figures, practices, and comparative approaches … [Representing Segregation] clarif[ies] and validate[s] the work of scholarship on the literature of the Civil Rights Movement … the volume … is excellent.” — MELUS
“Norman and Williams have assembled a collection of fine essays addressing the topic of place and space with regard to segregation … Presenting not only an eye-opening lesson in African American history but also a study in environmental justice, the contributors to this volume explain how race is embedded in the body, street, city, region, and country … This book settles any question there may have been about whether segregation or Jim Crow narrative exists … Highly recommended.” — CHOICE
“This book deals with more than just aesthetics; it also looks at the very nature of literary and theoretical representations of segregation.” — Kathaleen E. Amende, Alabama State University
Brian Norman is Assistant Professor of African American and American Literature at Loyola University Maryland. He is the author of The American Protest Essay and National Belonging: Addressing Division, also published by SUNY Press. Piper Kendrix Williams is Assistant Professor of African American Studies and English at the College of New Jersey.