Howard Rambsy: 'The Remarkable Receptions of Ta-Nehisi Coates & Colson Whitehead'
Thursday, 18 January, 2018 @ 05:00 PM | Cost:Free
This presentation contributes to our understanding of major black writers by discussing the promise and problem concerning the extraordinary literary successes of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Colson Whitehead, two of our most widely discussed contemporary African American authors. Over the last few years, in addition to appearing on The New York Times bestseller list and receiving National Book Award honors, works by Coates and Whitehead have been lauded by Toni Morrison, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and hundreds of others. Yet, the kinds of remarkable receptions that Coates and Whitehead have enjoyed rarely extended to large numbers of black writers, and thus sometimes prompted noticeable intra-racial resentment. A consideration of the responses to Coates and Whitehead reveals why the rise of major black writers is cause for celebration and frustration.
Howard Rambsy II is a Professor of Literature at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He has taught a wide range of literature courses, and he has coordinated more than 200 public humanities projects concentrating on African American literature and cultural history. He is the author of The Black Arts Enterprise (2011), a study of a defining African American cultural movement that took place during the 1960s and 1970s, and his articles on black literature have appeared in various publications. He has been an active blogger, charting multiple recent developments in African American writing.