Edlie Wong wins Independent Scholarship, Research, and Creativity Award

February 4, 2020

Edlie Wong, whose project "Empire and the Black Pacific: A Record of the Darker Races" has been selected for an AY19-20 Independent Scholarship, Research, and Creativity Award (ISRCA).

"Empire and the Black Pacific" centers the “Black Pacific” as a generative site for comparative and intersectional methodologies and transnational frameworks for thinking about racial formations, post-national literary forms, and cultural histories in the period spanning the end of Reconstruction to the onset of WWI. Professor Wong examines the formative yet largely under examined role of black periodicals—specifically, the illustrated literary monthly—in the development of black American political life and literary practice. During this tumultuous period in U.S. race relations, these race magazines debated and discussed the direction of black political struggle and as importantly, created new spaces for black literary experimentation, anticipating the creative energies of the Harlem Renaissance. These publications catered primarily to black reading audiences and actively solicited and published a wide range of editorials, letters, poetry, nonfiction prose, and short stories from little known, amateur, or occasional authors, including the writings of black servicemen stationed abroad who fought in the Philippine-American War. This project  recovers a far more heterogeneous record of African American writing at the “nadir” and offers new perspectives on U.S. race relations and the histories of black print culture and transpacific cultural circulation.

The ISRCA award will allow Professor Wong time to conduct extensive archival research at the Fisk University Special Collections and Archives, which houses the papers of Pauline E. Hopkins and documents related to her editorship of the Colored American Magazine. Professor Wong will also work with the W.E.B. Du Bois Papers held at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.