Welcome to my blog and to my project! Over the course of five weeks I held a book club to investigate questions of black identity in young adult fiction. Using Sister Souljah’s seminal text The Coldest Winter Ever and the wildly popular The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins as my primary sources, I wanted to know how young black women perceived blackness in these two hallmark young adult novels, and how might their reading environments (their homes, secondary institutions, etc) inform this perception of blackness.

This project is so close to my heart because I was the little black girl bookworm growing up in predominantly white schools. I was the girl who enjoyed reading to escape her reality more than reading for a literary mirror. And I was also the girl who didn’t enjoy or connect to a book that iterated so many black girls’ experiences. I started this project because I needed to know what blackness looked like for other young women as well as what it looks like in literature, and why I couldn’t connect to this widely received literary blackness. I needed to know what is blackness for this world and the next.

Beyond my own personal inquiries, this project has deep connotations. This work is ultimately important to the field of Africana studies because young adult literature is a site of latent race and gender theory that, for the betterment or detriment of the genre, is highly accessible. Our imagined ontological spaces indicate race/gender/sexuality/etc theory and that theory leaks into our practices of daily life– the way we talk, interact with others, interpret the world, and in this case the way we read and write.

So take a look around, outside of the videography I have appendices, extra materials enumerating the research process as well as my thoughts as the project progressed.