News Release, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Christine Wooley, associate professor of English and associate dean of curriculum, has a new article in PMLA: the journal of the Modern Language Association of America, which is the top critical journal in the field of English studies. Each issue is sent directly to over 25,000 college and university teachers of English and foreign languages.
Wooley’s piece, entitled “Held in Checks: Du Bois, Johnson, and the Figurative Work of Financial Forms,”investigates the personal check as it appears in two early twentieth-century African American novels, W. E. B. Du Bois’s“The Quest of the Silver Fleece”and James Weldon Johnson’s“The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man.”
Wooley argues that through the seemingly inconsequential choice to use checks instead of cash in their plots,Du Bois and Johnsonpresent an abstract financial relationship between individuals that reanimates and revises earlier nineteenth-century connections among feeling, money, and social change articulated by abolitionist writers.In surprising ways, the personal check navigates between the idealism of the 1850s and the foreclosure of meaningful sociopolitical progress for African Americans in the post-Reconstruction era.