Invention and Convention
Womanist Gazes on Literary and Critical Traditions
In her essay, "The Race for Theory", Barbara Christian avows that "women, at least the women I grew up around, continuously speculated about the nature of life through pithy language that unmasked the power relations of their world. My folk, in other words, have always been a race for theory--though more in the form of hieroglyph, a written figure which is both sensual and abstract, both beautiful and communicative" (844). As Africana scholars (female and male) employ varied forms of contemporary theory with the practice of criticism, the result may be a similar syncretic art. These modern African American critics have wider access to publication as a result of the same sociopolitical currents referenced in the introduction to Arms Akimbo; the gatekeepers of published literary criticism in the West until the latter half of this century were males. Whereas organization journals that served the Black, educated populace, journals such as Crisis and Opportunity, offered sparse literary criticism, only a few nationally circulated academic journals such as Phylon ( 1940-), and College Language Association Journal ( 1957-) were consistently open to Africana women literary critics. And these journals
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Publication information: Book title: Arms Akimbo:Africana Women in Contemporary Literature. Contributors: Janice Lee Liddell - Editor, Yakini Belinda Kemp - Editor. Publisher: University Press of Florida. Place of publication: Gainesville, FL. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 189.