In the academic world, there’s getting published, and then there’s getting published by the University of Cambridge Press.
MCC-Longview English instructor Robyn McGee experienced both last spring as her chapter on slave literature of Virginia was included in the book “A History of Virginia Literature,” published by the University of Cambridge Press in May.
The book chronicles the development of literary culture in Virginia from the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to the 21st century; McGee’s chapter focuses on narratives written by slaves and ex-slaves in the 19th century.
“Researching and writing the chapter has provided me with valuable information to pass on to my African-American Literature class students, so the project is directly related to what I do in the classroom,” McGee said.
The chapter is also a glimpse into McGee’s academic focus for most of her career.
“For the past 20 years, I have devoted my academic studies to the field of African-American literature,” she said.
McGee started studying the works of Southern author William Faulkner, but ended up being more interested in the African-American response to his writing.
“I soon found that my passion wasn’t with Faulkner but with issues of race in literature and, more specifically, with African-American writers of the 19th and early 20th centuries.”
McGee’s other passion? Teaching.
“I love teaching. I feel incredibly alive when I’m in front of a group of students, especially when I know that I’m teaching them something they didn’t know existed or helping them think about a topic or a problem in a different way. I love helping them become better communicators and, more importantly, better citizens.”
McGee also contributed an essay to the book “Reading with Jean-Luc Godard.” Her essay focuses on the filmmaker’s use of works by Eldridge Cleaver and Amiri Baaka in his film Sympathy for the Devil. The book was published by Montreal-based Caboose Books last spring.