In this innovative approach to southern literary cultures, Thadious
Davis analyzes how black southern writers use their spatial
location to articulate the vexed connections between society and
environment, particularly under segregation and its legacies.
Basing her analysis on texts by Ernest Gaines, Richard Wright,
Alice Walker, Natasha Trethewey, Olympia Vernon, Brenda Marie
Osbey, Sybil Kein, and others, Davis reveals how these writers
reconstitute racial exclusion as creative black space, rather than
a site of trauma and resistance. Utilizing the social and political
separation epitomized by segregation to forge a spatial and racial
vantage point, Davis argues, allows these writers to imagine and
represent their own subject matter and aesthetic concerns.
Focusing particularly on Louisiana and Mississippi, Davis deploys
new geographical discourses of space to expand analyses of black
writers' relationship to the South and to consider the informing
aspects of spatial narratives on their literary production. She
argues that African American writers not only are central to the
production of southern literature and new southern studies, but
also are crucial to understanding the shift from modernism to
postmodernism in southern letters. A paradigm-shifting work,
restores African American writers to their
rightful place in the regional imagination, while calling for a
more inclusive conception of region.