By Elizabeth Cali and Howard Rambsy II

Double consciousness. Passing. Colorism. Intersectionality. Signifying. Afrofuturism. So many keywords and phrases drive conversations about African American fiction.

Sometimes the words are derived from novels. On other occasions, essayists and scholars coin and apply terms based on observations from fiction or culture. And still on other occasions, we redefine a common term and consider alternative meanings in the context of black literary art.

Whatever the case, keywords are crucial for our considerations of African American fiction. For one, keywords illuminate important recurring tropes, literary techniques, and main points in novels. The presence and use of keywords make it possible for us to draw connections across multiple key texts.

In addition, keywords are imperative for organizational purposes. Indexes and search engines make good use of keywords, facilitating the process of finding where terms and phrases appear throughout a large body of work