Language and Literature in the African American Imagination

By Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay | Go to book overview

Afrocentricity and Literary Theory:
The Maturing Imagination

Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay

The aim of this volume is to advance the theoretical aspects of African American language and literature. In the last few years there has been a growing appreciation of the critical tradition in African American studies. The current criticism shows a variety of theoretical interests: Afrocentrism, deconstruction, womanism, feminism, Africana womanism, and Marxism. Scholars have explored the dimensions of song, dance, railroads, spirituals, and akimbos in African American literature.

In addition, the research into the nature of social and economic factors on speech, language, and literature suggests certain fundamental categories that might be comparable between African Americans and other ethnic groups. An exploration of the numerous aspects, for example, of the migration experience on the language and culture of African Americans may be profitable related to such developments in German society. The pursuit of the African American imagination in the patterns of migration is just as valid as the pursuit of that imagination in stable domiciles. Language and literature are two aspects of the communication genre that might be seen to reflect the social, economic, and cultural orientation and condition of people.

Language is a regularized symbolic code that connects its users in a symbiosis of substance. We are produced and produce through language. Language is, in essence, a fascinating phenomenon. Because of its unique role in capturing the breadth of human thought and endeavor, we utilize it as a vehicle of communication on many different levels. Thereby we are capable of expressing a multiplicity of worldviews, literature, and lifestyles. As we look back at the thoughts of our ancestors we find that we can only see as far as language (both written and oral) allow us to see. We look forward into time only to realize that we can propose, plan, and

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