CFP: Race in the Multiethnic Literature Classroom

Call for Submissions, Edited Collection

Race in the Multiethnic Literature Classroom

Editors: Cristina Stanciu (VCU) and Gary Totten (UNLV)

Deadline for abstract submission: Oct. 1, 2021; full essays due by Feb. 15, 2022.

The editors invite abstracts of no more than 300 words for the proposed edited collection Race in the Multiethnic Literature Classroom. The need for such a book has emerged from a productive contemporary cultural, social, and political moment of rethinking and relearning the history of race and racism nationally and the implications of this rethinking for our respective fields and communities. This collection will address a gap in the field through a systematic examination of race and racism as useful paradigms for understanding histories of exclusion, canon formation, and literary history, as well as the necessary (and often difficult) conversations in the multiethnic literature classroom about race. We invite essays which center on race in the multiethnic literature classroom, and which offer both theoretical and pedagogical tools for curricular expansions and revisions.

This volume also proposes an assessment of the state of the field and the growing influence of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the teaching of multiethnic literature, more broadly. With the term multiethnic literature, we refer to literary works by Latinx, Indigenous/Native American, African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and ethnically specific Euro-American authors. We view the multiethnic literature classroom as any classroom space that includes reading, analysis, and critical writing about US authors such as those listed above. By focusing on the teaching of race in such a classroom, this volume will provide pedagogical and theoretical strategies for incorporating concepts such as structural racism, anti-racist action, white privilege, intersectionality, and others in the teaching of multiethnic texts. The recent backlash against CRT and the study of race in some states reveals a deeper need for institutional understandings of the variety of American histories informing multiethnic literatures, as well as the integration of meaningful discussions about race and racism in our classrooms, departments, and institutions.

The following questions will shape this volume; we invite additional questions and answers:

  • How and why do we teach race in the multiethnic literature classroom?
  • How do we speak and write—or why do we not speak and write—about race in our respective institutional contexts (e.g., historically black college or university, research 1 university, liberal arts college, tribal college, community college, private university, urban university, etc.)?
  •  How do institutional, geographic, and identity factors influence our pedagogies in the multiethnic literature classroom?
  • How does Critical Race Theory (CRT) inform our pedagogical practices and material choices despite recent backlash against CRT and recent bans on ethnic studies (and ethnic authors) in some states?
  • How does the documented shift in student demographics over the next decades inform our pedagogy in the multiethnic literature classroom?
  • How do our pedagogies engage current historical and political debates, and how does that knowledge influence our work toward institutional change (e.g., recent nationwide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion [DEI] initiatives)?
  • The disproportionately low course evaluations of URM (Underrepresented Minority) faculty (especially pre-tenure) who teach courses on race and multiethnic literature or CRT indicates that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other people of color) faculty continue to feel disempowered institutionally. How can institutions address this gap, retain URM faculty, mentor colleagues and administrators to strive for a more inclusive environment, and develop alternative metrics for promotion and tenure? How can the multiethnic literature classroom be a platform for supporting such institutional and individual efforts?
  • How do we continue to teach multiethnic literature(s) after a pandemic that has revealed sharp social divides and inequality? How do our fields move forward without reflecting on the historic significance of this moment for our pedagogies, our material choices, our students, and our sense of citizenship?

This collection will educate instructors, students, and campus administrators about the importance of race as a critical framework for understanding both contemporary and historical multiethnic literatures of the United States, and the relevance of this knowledge beyond the English or ethnic studies major. Although recent volumes on race and racism have become more accessible to the public (for example, the open-access volume from Harvard UP, Racism in America)—especially during the pandemic and after the recent murders of black and brown people by the police—there continues to be a dearth of pedagogical support and insights on integrating these materials into university and college curricula. This volume will help readers rethink local and national curricular decisions and practices and contribute to the formation of more informed citizens graduating from US universities and colleges.

Please send 300-word abstracts and brief CVs to Cristina Stanciu ([email protected]) and Gary Totten ([email protected]) by October 1st, 2021. Authors whose abstracts are accepted will be invited to submit full manuscripts (5,000-7,000 words, MLA Style) by February 15, 2022. If authors quote from student writing or classroom conversations, permissions will be required.