We are pleased to announce Courtney Thorsson, author of Women’s Work: Nationalism and Contemporary African American Women’s Novels (University of Virginia Press, 2013) and Assistant Professor of English at the University of Oregon, will give the keynote lecture for “Radical Historiographies.”
Her writing has appeared in Callaloo and Atlantic Studies and her article “James Baldwin and Black Women Writers” will appear in the Baldwin special issue of African American Review. Thorsson’s current book project, Revolutionary Recipes, is a study of culinary discourse and the recipe form in African American cookbooks, poetry, and fiction.
In Women’s Work, Thorsson reconsiders the gender, genre, and geography of African American nationalism as she explores the aesthetic history of African American writing by women. Building on and departing from the Black Arts Movement, the literary fiction of such writers as Toni Cade Bambara, Paule Marshall, Gloria Naylor, Ntozake Shange, and Toni Morrison employs a cultural nationalism—practiced by their characters as “women’s work”—that defines a distinct contemporary literary movement, demanding attention to the continued relevance of nation in post–Black Arts writing. Identifying five forms of women’s work as organizing, dancing, mapping,cooking, and inscribing, Thorsson shows how these writers reclaimed and revised cultural nationalism to hail African America.