Historical Fiction

By Howard Rambsy II Historical fiction, as a genre, refers to fiction set in an identifiable period in the distant past. In the context of African American literature, novels about slavery, also known as neo-slave narratives, constitute some of the most known examples of historical fiction. But historical fiction can include various times, including the Historical Fiction

Trope of the Tragic Mulatta

By Elizabeth Cali The figure or trope of the “tragic mulatta/o” appears in African American literature as a character with mixed race ancestry. In light of US racial politics, the one-drop rule, and white supremacist political and social adherence to the fallacies of the “color-line,” this ancestry places a mixed-race or bi-racial character’s identity in Trope of the Tragic Mulatta

The Flying African

By Elizabeth Cali The trope or figure of the flying African has its roots in African American folklore and refers to the lore that African peoples who had been enslaved and forcibly moved across the Atlantic and Indian oceans to the Americas could fly back to Africa as a form of resistance to slavery. There The Flying African

Racial Passing

By Elizabeth Cali Racial passing refers to occasions when a person of one racial identity group employs their ability to be regarded as part of another racial identity group. In African American social and political history, this has most commonly applied to African American individuals who can be perceived as white/ Caucasian presenting themselves as Racial Passing

Contemporary Narratives of Slavery

By Elizabeth Cali Given the debates about what genre conventions define the neo-slave narrative tradition, some scholars – most notably Arlene Keizer – have adopted the nomenclature of “contemporary narratives of slavery” to include a broader range of novels representing racial slavery across the globe. This is an expansive novelistic genre by African American and Contemporary Narratives of Slavery

Antebellum Slave Narrative

By Elizabeth Cali Slave narratives are a genre of autobiographical literature composed by African American writers representing their experiences of enslavement and their pathways to freedom before slavery was outlawed. Their express rhetorical purpose was to advocate for the abolition of slavery. But for African American writers, they are part of the larger genre of Antebellum Slave Narrative


By Howard Rambsy II Afrofuturism (AF), as it was thought of in the late 1990s and early 2000s, is a critical approach that examines convergences between technology or speculative narratives and Black culture. The term “afrofuturism” was coined in 1993 by Mark Dery, and in 1998, Alondra Nelson founded and facilitated a listserv that explored Afrofuturism


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 Keywords