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Title:'Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction': Black Women in American Literature of the *South
Author(s):Johnson, Sherita
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Foote, Stephanie
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Black Studies
Abstract:Although the South has been an enduring site of criticism in American Studies and in American literary history, my dissertation argues that it is impossible to consider what the "South" and what "southernness" mean as cultural references without looking at how black women have contributed to and contested any unified definition of that region. I focus on the late nineteenth century, a period of intense regional conflict when southern blacks witnessed the reassertion of white hegemony. Hence, the idea of the South and southern identity become synonymous with "whiteness" as it solidifies in literary and political narratives. The scope of my dissertation examines the relationship between Southern literature and the South's social history. Specifically, I look at that relationship by focusing on black women, fictional and historical, arguing that they are unacknowledged agents of cultural change. Though black women were integral to southern society, they are often invisible in historical accounts of regional politics and culture, especially as southern black women. Black women, likewise, are a largely under-critiqued presence in the regional fiction of the period. My dissertation reconsiders the South and explains how black women contributed to its literary and cultural history.
Issue Date:2005
Description:175 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3182291
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2005

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