University of Puget Sound
Home Calendars Cascade Departments Directories Index Library Maps WebMail Search Intranet

An Encyclopedia of 

African American Literature

UPDATE:  The complete manuscript for the encyclopedia was submitted to the publishers

at the end of December, 2004, so all entries have been assigned and completed.  The

encyclopedia is due to be published toward the end of 2005. 


The editors of An Encyclopedia of African American Literature, currently under contract with Greenwood Press, seek authors for entries on all aspects of African American literature.  Entries in the five-volume Encyclopedia will address authors, movements, and genres as well as the historical and cultural contexts of African American literature and its critical reception and interpretation.  

The Encyclopedia will reach back not just to 1746, when Lucy Terry became the first African American to write a poem, but also to elements of African culture that would influence African American literature - elements of mythology and esthetics, history and spirituality.  Chronologically, the Encyclopedia will conclude with African American literature today, as it is being created in the twenty-first century by Terry McMillan, Wanda Coleman, Kevin Powell, Sapphire, and numerous others.

Topically, the Encyclopedia will represent major and minor writers, works, literary movements, themes, genres, forms, manifestos, and motifs.  It will identify connections between literature and other forms of art, including painting, music, folklore, and fashion.  It will represent relationships between literature and other elements of culture including religion and spirituality, politics and the law, economics, sexuality and gender, psychology and education, language, and geography.

The Encyclopedia will describe theoretical approaches to African American literature, important periodicals, publishers, societies, and organizations, and significant historical events, patrons, and archives that have helped to shape the African American literary tradition.

Entries, signed by the authors, will conclude with selected bibliographies.  The Encyclopedia will be an accessible, clear, thorough, and accurate reference resource for  high school students and their teachers, undergraduate college students and their professors, librarians at secondary schools, colleges, and universities in North America, Europe, and Asia, and avid readers of African American literature.   

Information for Contributors

For further information, please contact the editors, Hans Ostrom ( and David Macey (  Detailed Guidelines for Contributors are obtainable online, as is a list of available entries.

Advisory Board

Houston Baker, Duke University

Emily Bernard, University of Vermont

Michele Birnbaum-Elam, Stanford University

Dolan Hubbard, Morgan State University

Sheila Smith McKoy, North Carolina State University


Hans Ostrom

University of Puget Sound

(253) 879-3434

J. David Macey

University of Central Oklahoma

(405) 974-5641


An Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Department of English

University of Puget Sound

1500 N. Warner St., CMB 1045

Tacoma, WA  98416-1045


University of Puget Sound Copyright © 2008 Last update: Monday, January 09, 2006

Hans A. Ostrom