Cultural Sites of Critical Insight

Philosophy, Aesthetics, and African American and Native American Women's Writings

Edited by Angela L. Cotten & Christa Davis Acampora

Subjects: African American Studies
Paperback : 9780791469804, 224 pages, February 2007
Hardcover : 9780791469798, 224 pages, February 2007

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Table of contents

I. Introduction
1. On the “Res” and in the “Hood”: Making Cultures, Leaving Legacies
      Angela L. Cotten
II. Transformative Aesthetics
2. Self-Help, Indian Style? Paula Gunn Allen’s Grandmothers of the Light, Womanist Self-Recovery, and the Politics of Transformation
      AnaLouise Keating
3. Making the Awakening Hers: Phillis Wheatley and the Transposition of African Spirituality to Christian Religiosity
      Elizabeth J. West
4. “Any Woman’s Blues”: Sherley Anne Williams and the Blues Aesthetic
      Michael A. Antonucci
III. Critical Revisions
5. Through the Mirror: Re-Surfacing and Self-Articulation in Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms
      Ellen L. Arnold
6. The Red-Black Center of Alice Walker’s Meridian: Asserting a Cherokee Womanist Sensibility
      Barbara S. Tracy
7. Womanist Interventions in Historical Materialism
      Angela L. Cotten
IV. Re(In)Fusing Feminism
8. “Both the Law and Its Transgression”: Toni Morrison’s Paradise and “Post”–Black Feminism
      Noelle Morrissette
9. Luci Tapahonso’s “Leda and the Cowboy”: A Gynocratic, Navajo Response to Yeats’s “Leda and the Swan”
      Maggie Romigh
10. Mother Times Two: A Double Take on a Gynocentric Justice Song
      Margot Reynolds

Explores the interplay between artistic values and social, political, and moral concerns in writings by African American and Native American women.


Bringing together criticism on both African American and Native American women writers, this book offers fresh perspectives on art and beauty, truth, justice, community, and the making of a good and happy life. The essays draw on interdisciplinary, feminist, and comparative methods in the works of writers such as Toni Morrison, Leslie Silko, Alice Walker, Linda Hogan, Paula Gunn Allen, Luci Tapahonso, Phillis Wheatley, and Sherley Anne Williams, making them more accessible for critical consideration in the fields of aesthetics, philosophy, and critical theory. The contributors formulate unique frameworks for interpreting the multiple levels of complex, cultural play between Native American and African American women writers in America, and pave the way for innovative hermeneutic possibilities for reassessing writers of both traditions.

Angela L. Cotten is Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. Christa Davis Acampora is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, The City University of New York. She is coeditor (with Ralph R. Acampora) of A Nietzschean Bestiary: Becoming Animal Beyond Docile and Brutal.


"…Cotten and Acampora's text serves as a valuable source to the growing research on African American and Native American culture, with its narrowed focus on literature and writing produced by women." — Feminist Formations

"…these essays tackle both the failure to address all aspects of African Native identities and the absence of sustained studies of African Native literature." — The Year's Work in English Studies

"The essays offer some fresh perspectives on well-known works and will prove useful to students and scholars in philosophy, women's studies, and the humanities … the collection does a good job in presenting new ways of thinking about texts that challenge traditional disciplinary divisions." — American Indian Quarterly