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Jennifer D. Williams
Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD 21251-0001)
Gender, Segregation, and Urban Life in Literature by African American Women

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on urban literature written by African American women between the Great Depression and the civil rights era.

Intimate Cities examines urban literature after the Great Depression and before the civil rights movement in order to demonstrate the ways that black women’s imaginative claims to the city betray a longing for freedom and full access to American citizenship. Black women’s urban narratives complicate spatial divisions, such as those between home and the street or spaces of privacy and sociality. Indeed, the negotiation of urban space charted in black women’s literary and cultural texts displays a dynamic interplay among bodies, structures, and technologies. Many literary studies of American cities rest on urban crisis discourses that highlight men’s struggles to find employment, feelings of isolation, and incidents of violence and criminality. Intimate Cities refocuses the masculine, crisis centered gaze toward everyday practices of living. It also broadens the parameters of “the city” to incorporate public as well as domestic spaces.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African American Studies; American Literature; Gender Studies

Awards for Faculty

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2018 – 7/31/2019