Hortense J. Spillers is the Frederick J. Whiton Professor of English, Cornell University
University of Memphis, B.A., 1964, M.A., 1966, Brandeis University, Ph.D., 1974
"Literary critic Hortense Spillers, who presently  teaches in the English Department at Cornell University, has, over the past twenty years, enormously enriched African diasporic literary and cultural criticism. Spillers' present work at the intersection of psychoanalysis and Black feminist criticism is, like all her writing, inflected with a generous spirit and mordant wit." 'http://www.blackculturalstudies.org
Spillers on James Bladwin
Afro-Future Females: Black Writers Chart Science Fiction's Newest
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Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Ohio State University Press; 2 edition (May 8, 2008)
Afro-Future Females: Black Writers Chart Science Fiction's Newest New-Wave Trajectory, edited by Marleen S. Barr, is the first combined science fiction critical anthology and short story collection to focus upon black women via written and visual texts. The volume creates a dialogue with existing theories of Afro-Futurism in order to generate fresh ideas about how to apply race to science fiction studies in terms of gender. The contributors, including Hortense Spillers, Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, and Steven Barnes, formulate a woman-centered Afro-Futurism by repositioning previously excluded fiction to redefine science fiction as a broader fantastic endeavor. They articulate a platform for scholars to mount a vigorous argument in favor of redefining science fiction to encompass varieties of fantastic writing and, therefore, to include a range of black women's writing that would otherwise be excluded. Afro-Future Females builds upon Barr's previous work in black science fiction and fills a gap in the literature. It is the first critical anthology to address the "blackness" of outer space fiction in terms of feminism, emphasizing that it is necessary to revise the very nature of a genre that has been constructed in such a way as to exclude its new black participants. Black science fiction writers alter genre conventions to change how we read and define science fiction itself. The work's main point: black science fiction is the most exciting literature of the nascent twenty-first century.
About the Editor: Marleen S. Barr
is a science fiction pioneer who broke new ground in feminist science fiction criticism with her book Alien to Femininity: Speculative Fiction and Feminist Theory. She won the Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for Lifetime Achievement in science fiction criticism.
White, and in Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture
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Format: Paperback, 584pp
Pub. Date: April 2003
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Black, White, and in Color offers a long-awaited collection of major essays by Hortense Spillers, one of the most influential and inspiring black critics of the past twenty years. Spanning her work from the early 1980s, in which she pioneered a broadly poststructuralist approach to African American literature, and extending through her turn to cultural studies in the 1990s, these essays display her passionate commitment to reading as a fundamentally political act'one pivotal to rewriting the humanist project.
Spillers is probably best known for her race-centered revision of psychoanalytic theory and for her subtle account of the relationships between race and gender. She has also given literary criticism some of its most powerful readings of individual authors, represented here in seminal essays on Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, and William Faulkner. Other essays such as "Who Cuts the Border?" consider the effect of migration on the black cultural experience. "Moving on Down the Line" opens a fascinating window onto the African American sermon. "A Hateful Passion, A Lost Love" contrasts fiction by Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Margaret Walker. A new preface and introduction that appear here for the first time trace the trajectory of the author's career and point the way toward new lines of inquiry.
Ultimately, the essays collected in Black, White, and in Color all share Spillers's signature style: heady, eclectic, and astonishingly productive of new ideas. Anyone interested in African American culture and literature will want to read them.
"Hortense Spillers wrote many of the essays in this long-deserved collection
during a period in which Black Studies departments were springing up across the
country and black academics were 'called upon to hit the ground, already
running. . . to establish the game and play it at once.' Spillers
faithfully attempted both feats and as this volume shows, she not only excelled
at the game early and impressively but continued to develop new moves. . . . The
legacy of Spillers's career, however, certainly doesn't reside in the quaint
conclusion that Black Studies is important per se, but that, as a more recently
heralded or authorized tradition of thought in the academy, it continues to
inform our shared experience of literature and life in still unexpected and
Table of Contents
Introduction- Peter's Pans: Eating in the Diaspora
1. Ellison's "Usable Past": Toward a Theory of Myth
2. Formalism Comes to Harlem
3. A Hateful Passion, A Lost Love: Three Women's Fiction
4. Gwendolyn the Terrible: Propositions on Eleven Poems
5. "An Order of Constancy": Notes on Brooks and the Feminine
6. Interstices: A Small Drama of Words
7. Changing the Letter: The Yokes, the Jokes of Discourse, or, Mrs. Stowe, Mr. Reed
8. Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book
9. "The Permanent Obliquity of an In(pha)llibly Straight": In the Time of the Daughters and the Fathers
10. Moving on Down the Line: Variations on the African-American Sermon
11. Black, White, and in Color, or Learning How to Paint: Toward an Intramural Protocol of Reading
12. Notes on an Alternative Model--Neither/Nor
13. Who Cuts the Border? Some Readings on America
14. Faulkner Adds Up: Reading Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury
15. "All the Things You Could Be by Now, If Sigmund Freud's Wife was Your Mother": Psychoanalysis and Race
16. The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: A Post-Date
Literature and Literary Criticism: American and Canadian Literature
'from The University of Chicago Press
Comparative American Identities: Race, Sex, and Nationality in the Modern
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Format: Paperback, 256pp
Pub. Date: November 1990
An examination of the different cultural identities that have emerged in the
USA. Contributors locate the plurality and division of the different cultural
types in America's culture and history and suggest that, despite this diversity,
there are grounds for a common American unity.
Spillers is an editor of
The Norton Anthology of African American Literature
Welcomed on publication as "brilliant, definitive, and a joy to teach from," (Russ Castronovo, University of Miami) The Norton Anthology of African American Literature was adopted at more than 1,275 colleges and universities worldwide.
Spillers wrote the foreword toClarence and Corinne: Or, God's Way
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'Clarence and Corinne' is a novel that reflects the social reform ideology of the U.S. women's movement in the late nineteenth century. It condemns the destructive effects of 'demon' alcohol on the nuclear family, focusing on the danger that alcoholism poses to women and children.
HORTENSE SPILLERS interviewed by Tim Haslett for the Black Cultural Studies web site collective in Ithaca, NY February 4, 1998