Call for Essay Proposals for Volume on Teaching the Harlem Renaissance

Proposals are invited for a volume in the MLA’s Options for Teaching series entitled Teaching the Harlem Renaissance, edited by Venetria K. Patton. The volume aims to bring together original essays exploring the diversity of debates and discussions about the period as well as novel pedagogical strategies. It will include essays representing both innovative and traditional approaches from contributors who participate in different fields, institutions, and classroom contexts. It will be a resource for veteran and novice instructors teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and across a variety of disciplinary locations. In addition to the essays, a resource section on current scholarship and reference material will be included.

Proposed essays should fit under one of these broad headings: “Background for Teaching the Harlem Renaissance”; “Critical Concerns in Teaching the Harlem Renaissance”; and “Authors, Works, and Genres.” The first section will explore historical contexts and debates in the field and might include essays addressing nomenclature, modernism, gender and sexuality, the New Woman, African American periodicals and newspapers, white patronage, and transnationalism. The second section will include essays regarding classroom contexts such as disciplinary location, institution, and course level, as well as essays presenting particular approaches and methodologies. Potential topics might include but are not limited to teaching the Harlem Renaissance with digital humanities, blues and jazz, and visual art; a variety of theoretical approaches are welcome. Essays in the third section, addressing specific authors, works, and genres, should consider well-known figures of the period as well as lesser-known figures and texts. Possible authors to consider include but are not limited to Jessie Redmon Fauset, Angelina Weld Grimké, Langston Hughes, Helene Johnson, Nella Larsen, Claude McKay, Richard Bruce Nugent, and Willis Richardson, among others. As part of the Options for Teaching series, every essay should make explicit how it will apply to the needs of teachers and students.

If you are interested in contributing an essay of 3,000–3,500 words, please send an abstract of 350–500 words to Venetria K. Patton, Purdue University (, by 1 August 2015.

Please note that any quotations from student papers will require written permission from the students.