“New Books on the Edge” with K. Merinda Simmons

Simmons-Changing

New Books on the Edge” is an ongoing blog series, which engages forthcoming manuscripts by Edge collective members.

Changing the Subject: Writing Women Across the African Diaspora

From diaspora to class, gender, subjectivity, migration, labor and much more – take us behind the scenes of Changing the Subject — how it came to be, what sorts of questions are raised in this project, and what data is being engaged?

My disciplinary training is in literary theory, and I have long been puzzled by a tendencyI see working in that domain of scholarship. Namely, while so much of the field has been influenced by what many—myself included—see as important poststructuralist intellectual moves, I nonetheless keep coming across analyses by prominent scholars that focus on “authenticity” in one manner or other. This seems an especially noticeable phenomenon within scholarship on texts deemed marginalized—and, as my data set when I began the work that would ultimately become this book was comprised of narratives by women of various African diasporas, I decided to delve into how and why the emphasis on something called authenticity appears in the criticism surrounding these texts. Continue reading ““New Books on the Edge” with K. Merinda Simmons”

Reports of the Myth of Race are Greatly Exaggerated

mythofraceI caught an interview on the radio this morning with Jacqueline Jones, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of a new book on “the myth of race.”

Give it a listen. Continue reading “Reports of the Myth of Race are Greatly Exaggerated”

On the Spot with Merinda Simmons

“On the Spot” backs members of Culture on the Edge into a corner to talk about their backgrounds, their ongoing work, and what might be gained by an alternative understanding of how identity works.

merindaQ: Tell us a little bit about your doctoral studies, since they were not carried out in the academic study of religion, yet that’s the field in which you now work as a professor. How was your training in the Department of English relevant to the work you now do and the classes you now teach?

A: I never expected to end up teaching in a Religious Studies department.  But really, my studies in English overlap with the work I now do in a variety of ways.  The strands of literary criticism that I found most interesting were ones that questioned the roles of authorship, text, and readership.  The more literary theory I read, the more difficult it became for me to see “author” and “text”, for example, as two discrete categories.  I remember the first time I read “The Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes—I was completely floored.  And that was just the beginning!  Continue reading “On the Spot with Merinda Simmons”