Black Cultural Mythology

By Christel N. Temple

Subjects: African American Studies, Literary Criticism, Literary Theory, Literary History, Myth
Paperback : 9781438477886, 370 pages, January 2021
Hardcover : 9781438477879, 370 pages, April 2020

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Table of contents





1. Intellectual Foundations of Black Cultural Mythology

2. Commemoration Intervention

3. Harriet Tubman and Aesthetic Memorialization

4. Haiti as Diaspora-Wide Mythology

5. Richard Wright's Navigation of the Antihero

6. Mythical Malcolm in an Age of Marable

7. Imaginative Rights

Conclusion: Introducing Africana Cultural Memory Studies




Offers a new conceptual framework rooted in mythological analysis to ground the field of Africana cultural memory studies.


Winner of the 2021 CLA Book Award presented by the College Language Association

Black Cultural Mythology retrieves the concept of "mythology" from its Black Arts Movement origins and broadens its scope to illuminate the relationship between legacies of heroic survival, cultural memory, and creative production in the African diaspora. Christel N. Temple comprehensively surveys more than two hundred years of figures, moments, ideas, and canonical works by such visionaries as Maria Stewart, Richard Wright, Colson Whitehead, and Edwidge Danticat to map an expansive yet broadly overlooked intellectual tradition of Black cultural mythology and to provide a new conceptual framework for analyzing this tradition. In so doing, she at once reorients and stabilizes the emergent field of Africana cultural memory studies, while also staging a much broader intervention by challenging scholars across disciplines—from literary and cultural studies, history, sociology, and beyond—to embrace a more organic vocabulary to articulate the vitality of the inheritance of survival.

Christel N. Temple is Associate Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her books include Transcendence and the Africana Literary Enterprise; Literary Spaces: Introduction to Comparative Black Literature; and Literary Pan-Africanism: History, Contexts, and Criticism.


"This is a phenomenal book that invites readers on a journey through a literary landscape of the rich, diverse, complex articulations of Black thought and praxis of resistance, restoration, and regeneration of Black lives found in the creative, critical, and constructive works of Black arts, literature, culture, and philosophy." — Religious Studies Review

"This book not only offers a new and exciting theoretical concept, it also applies that concept to texts in unique and different ways. With this theoretical lens, we can 'read' and 'see' texts, memories, and ideas in new ways. The author examines an almost dizzying array of cultural and historical moments, scholars, artists, and activists and provides new lenses through which to read them as well. This is a brilliant and much-needed addition to the academic and cultural conversation." — Georgene Bess Montgomery, author of The Spirit and the Word: A Theory of Spirituality in Africana Literary Criticism