Maret 02, 2020

Oleh: Karina Hanum Luthfia

(Mahasiswi S3 Kajian Amerika UGM dan Dosen Sastra Inggris Universitas Negeri Semarang)
Source: studybreaks.com
The definition of African American literature is proposed as a studies concerning on the involuted African American social issues through the work of African descendants. According to Kenneth Warren (2011) that,

“African American literature was a post-emancipation phenomenon that gained its coherence as an undertaking in the social world defined by the system of Jim Crow segregation that ensued after the nation’s retreat from Reconstruction.”

The origin of African American literature which was derived from the Africa mainland authentically was portrayed on orality formation. Since the tradition of orality is not able to be considered as a form of literature in accordance to American cultural tendency, African American individuals attempted to usher their social conflicts toward the White American by revealing in the written form of literature as a narrative writing as “American letters have begun to assay the work of these writers by the general literary standards and accord it such appraisal as it might merrit” (Warren: 2011). Philip Wheatley and Olaudah Equiao were nobled as the pioneers of eighteenth-century African American narratives authors.

The development of African American literature was depicted on being dynamic and polar. The emergence of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe: 1852) led the social group to break the bounded definition of African American writer since Stowe was not an African American or a Mulatto. According to that reason, the definition of African American literature was escalated concerning on the social issues advanced, not on the descendant background of the author. Subsequently, all literary works making space for African American issues are appertained into African American literature.

At present, the definition of African American literature is severely associated to American minority literature. As a writer, I urged a pronounced definition of the minority terminology which is employed on this discipline as an account to elucidate the minority as locating toward the social group, African American. In consequence, the terminology of minority is not ethical to designate the African American literature in binary opposition to the canonized White American literature. This consideration was proposed in the ground of a paradigm explicated that literature is considered as a mental evidence, yet it honoured an equality position to other literary works. According to the articulation of African American literature’s definition, the writer inferred that the substantial aspect on African American literature is the issue depicted on the literary work from which in most case urges the equal humanity of voice against the institutionalized slavery.

Stowe, Harriet Beetcher. 1852. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Boston: John P. Jewett and Company.

Warren, Kenneth. 2011. What was African American Literature. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.


Karina Hanum Luthfia atau biasa dipanggil Hanum, adalah seorang mahasiswi S3 Pengkajian Amerika yang juga mengajar di Universitas Negeri Semarang. Saat ini sedang menitikberatkan fokusnya ke kampus untuk mengajar dan penelitian mengenai gerakan literasi di Indonesia. Ia juga memiliki pengalaman menjadi volunteer dan researcher di salah satu locally run NGO di Yogyakarta.

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