Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-dc8c957cd-mn2s7 Total loading time: 0.168 Render date: 2022-01-29T03:46:30.864Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Article contents

Identifying Emma Dunham Kelley: Rethinking Race and Authorship

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020

Abstract

Though she has long been considered a pioneer of black women's writing, there is no evidence to suggest that Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins, author of Megda and Four Girls at Cottage City, was African American. This author considered herself racially white, as did every recorded member of her family before her. Instead of simply asserting her whiteness to correct the “mistake” of her racial categorization in the scholarly reception of her novels, this essay explores the uses of authorial racial identity in critical practice. Reading the obsessive concern with skin color in Four Girls at Cottage City demands not only further consideration of Kelley's work alongside African American literature but also attention to issues of white racialization at the turn of the century. However we identify Kelley, the critical history and continued interpretation of her work provide a rare opportunity to observe the consequences of destabilizing an author's identity or, more precisely, recognizing identity as unstable.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by The Modern Language Association of America

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Alden, Isabella Macdonald. Four Girls at Chautauqua. 1876. Whitefish: Kessinger, 2004.Google Scholar
Appiah, Anthony. The Ethics of Identity. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Appiah, Anthony. “The Uncompleted Argument: DuBois and the Illusion of Race.” “Race,” Writing, and Difference. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1986. 2137.Google Scholar
Bauer, Dale M.Master Thoughts.” White Scholars / African American Texts. Ed. Long, Lisa A. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2005. 186–97.Google Scholar
Chirokas, Chris. Letter to the author. 3 Apr. 2005.Google Scholar
Christian, Barbara. Introduction. The Hazeley Family. By A. E. Johnson. Schomburg Lib. of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers. New York: Oxford UP, 1988.xxvii–xxxvii.Google Scholar
Cromwell, Adelaide M. The Other Brahmins: Boston's Black Upper Class, 1750–1950. Fayetteville: U of Arkansas P, 1994.Google Scholar
duCille, Ann. The Coupling Convention: Sex, Text, and Tradition in Black Women's Fiction. New York: Oxford UP, 1993.Google Scholar
Eversley, Shelly. The Real Negro: The Question of Authenticity in Twentieth-Century African American Literature. Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory. New York: Routledge, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Flynn, Katherine E.A Case of Mistaken Racial Identity: Finding Emma Dunham (née Kelley) Hawkins.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 94 (2006): 522.Google Scholar
Foucault, Michel. “What Is an Author?The Foucault Reader. Ed. Rabinow, Paul. New York: Pantheon, 1984. 101–20.Google Scholar
Gates, Henry Louis Jr.Foreword: In Her Own Write.” Kelley, Four Girls vii–xxii.Google Scholar
Guillory, John. Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Henning-Dyson, Erika. Letter to the author. 29 Mar. 2005.Google Scholar
Henning-Dyson, , Erika. Letter to the author. 16 Apr. 2005.Google Scholar
Hite, Molly. Introduction. Kelley, Megda xxvii–xxxvii.Google Scholar
Ignatiev, Noel. How the Irish Became White. New York: Routledge, 1995.Google Scholar
Jackson, Holly. “Mistaken Identity.” Boston Globe 20 Feb. 2005: D1+.Google Scholar
Jacobson, Matthew Frye. Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1998.Google Scholar
Kelley, Emma Dunham. Four Girls at Cottage City. Schomburg Lib. of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers. New York: Oxford UP, 1988.Google Scholar
Kelley, Emma Dunham. Megda. Schomburg Lib. of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers. New York: Oxford UP, 1988.Google Scholar
Logan, Rayford W. The Negro in American Life and Thought: The Nadir, 1877–1901. New York: Collier, 1965.Google Scholar
Mason, Theodore O. Jr.The African-American Anthology: Mapping the Territory, Taking the National Census, Building the Museum.” American Literary History 10.1 (1998): 185–98.Google Scholar
Matthews, Victoria Earle. “The Value of Race Literature.” 1895. Massachusetts Review 27.2 (1986): 169–91.Google Scholar
McDowell, Deborah E. “The Changing Same”: Black Women's Literature, Criticism, and Theory. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1995.Google Scholar
McDowell, Deborah E. Introduction. Kelley, Four Girls xxvii–xxxviii.Google Scholar
Mehegan, David. “Correcting a Case of Mistaken Identity.” Boston Globe 5 Mar. 2005: C1+.Google Scholar
“Nigger heaven.” Def. 6c. The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.Google Scholar
Peterson, Carla L.New Negro Modernity: Worldliness and Interiority in the Novels of Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins.” Women's Experience of Modernity, 1875–1945. Ed. Peterson, , Ardis, Ann L., and Lewis, Leslie W. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2003. 111–29.Google Scholar
Roediger, David R. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. New York: Verso, 1991.Google Scholar
Smith, Shawn Michelle. American Archives: Gender, Race, and Class in Visual Culture. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1999.Google Scholar
Tate, Claudia. Domestic Allegories of Political Desire: The Black Heroine's Text at the Turn of the Century. New York: Oxford UP, 1992.Google Scholar
Tate, Claudia. Psychoanalysis and Black Novels: Desire and the Protocols of Race. New York: Oxford UP, 1998.Google Scholar
Whiteman, Maxwell. A Century of Fiction by American Negroes, 1853–1952: A Descriptive Bibliography. Philadelphia: Saifer, 1955.Google Scholar

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Identifying Emma Dunham Kelley: Rethinking Race and Authorship
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Identifying Emma Dunham Kelley: Rethinking Race and Authorship
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Identifying Emma Dunham Kelley: Rethinking Race and Authorship
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *