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Teaching crime fiction and the African American literary canon

King, N. (2016) Teaching crime fiction and the African American literary canon. In: Shaw, K. (ed.) Teaching 21st Century Genres. Teaching the New English. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 47-65. ISBN 9781137553898

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-55391-1


In this essay I argue for a renewed interrogation of canonicity when we teach African American literature. I contend that talking about the canon offers an opportunity for students to both understand and question how they are taught and what they are taught and thereby enhances their learning experience. Using the example of Attica Locke’s crime fiction novel, The Cutting Season, I show how a popular literary genre, with its attention to form and freedom to ‘play’ and be entertaining, can be an effective means through which readers might understand and map the contingencies and contradictions of the prose, poetry and drama that is taught and presented as African American literature. As a crime fiction novel The Cutting Season suggests how a more creative and questioning pedagogical practice is possible within the teaching of African American fiction and forces questions about the categorical and qualitative division of literature to the surface.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Identities
ID Code:67208
Uncontrolled Keywords:African American literature, pedagogy, crime fiction, canon, Attica Locke
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan


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