September 26, 2013 at 9:09 am

Roundtable on Banning Literary Texts by African American Authors, Oct. 3

A Roundtable Discussion on Banning Literary Texts by African American Authors is Thursday, Oct. 3, at 4 p.m. in the Faculty Commons, third floor of Alden Library.

Recently a school board in North Carolina banned Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man, concluding that the text lacked “literary value.” Invisible Man is often regarded as the best American novel since World War I and has generated a steady torrent of scholarship since its appearance in 1952. Closer to home, an Ohio board of education president labeled Toni Morrison’s 1970 novel The Bluest Eye “pornographic.” Critics also consider The Bluest Eye to be an essential literary text. These are not isolated incidents.

This roundtable will address the topic of “literary merit,” “pornographic” content, and other areas related to the current trend in the interdiction against literary texts by African American authors. It seeks to provide an open forum for discussing the significance and consequences of this new trend and consider if and how it relates to current attacks on minority civil rights.


  • Susanne Dietzel, Ph.D., Director of the Women’s Center
  • Ayesha Hardison, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English
  • Gary Holcomb, Ph.D., Professor of African American Literature
  • Amritjit Singh, Ph.D., Langston Hughes Professor of English and African American Studies

This event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Department of African American Studies and the Multicultural Center.


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