DaMaris Hill Shares W.E.B. DuBois' Work With World

By Megan Foltz


University of Kentucky Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and African American and Africana Studies DaMaris B. Hill will participate in the European Association for American Studies (EAAS) meeting next September at the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu, Finland. EAAS meets once a year to study a marginalized text or author.

This year’s workshop will focus on America’s early 20th century magazine The Brownies’ Book, published by NAACP founder William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, better known as W.E.B. Du Bois. With most of the children’s literature of the day produced by white authors for white children, Du Bois wanted to offer an alternative. The magazine contextualizes writing of the 19th century and counters negative stereotypes about African Americans in the early 20th century. The Brownies’ Book contains stories and poems by writers such as Langston Hughes and Nella Larsen.

The Library of Congress' Rare Book and Special Collections Division provides online access to all but the last issue of The Brownies' Book at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=rbc3&fileName=rbc0001_2004ser01351page.db

The EAAS also invited Dianne Johnson-Feelings as the meeting’s keynote speaker. Johnson-Feelings was the editor of “The Best of The Brownies’ Book,” an anthology of some of the most noteworthy stories and poems published in Du Bois’ magazine.

Hill will also give a lecture to Sirpa Salenius’s academic writing course at the University of Eastern Finland. In this lecture, Hill plans to discuss the contemporary study of creative writing in digital spaces, in context of maker culture and as an emergent genre.

As a creative scholar, Hill’s work is influenced by the literary legacy of Toni Morrison and Morrison’s theories regarding "rememory." Similar to Hill’s creative writing process, her scholarly research is interdisciplinary and examines the intersections between literary criticism, cultural studies and digital humanities.

Hill has been at UK since July 2013 and has worked with renowned authors such as Lucille Clifton, Nikky Finney, Natasha Trethewey, Monifa Love-Asante, Marita Golden and Deb Willis. She is supported by institutions such as the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, Key West Literary Seminar/Writers Workshops, Callaloo Literary Writers Workshop, the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, the Project on the History of Black Writing, and Furious Flower Poetry Center. Her latest books include “The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the Heartland” and “Visible Textures.” For a complete list of her writings, including fiction and non-fiction books, poetry, journal articles and academic reviews, visit https://english.as.uky.edu/users/dbhi222. Hill is currently working on a novel about girls that went to jail during the 1930s.

Established in 2005, the European Study Group of 19th-Century American Literature is part of the EAAS. The group meets annually to exchange ideas and information about a specific text or author. Previous topics included Fanny Fern’s “Ruth Hall” and Edith Wharton’s “New York.”

For more information on the European Study Group of the 19th-Century American Literature workshops or the European Association for American Studies visit, www.eaas.eu/eaas-networks/european-study-group-of-19th-century-american-literature.

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