Diary as Literature: Through the Lens of Multiculturalism in America

Angela R. Hooks (Ed.)

by Sumaira Ahammed (St. John’s University, Queens, New York), Kelsey Paige Mason (The Ohio State University, Columbus), Aisha Z. Cort (Howard University, Washington DC), Corey D. Greathouse (Austin Community College, Texas), Angela R. Hooks , Chimene Jackson (Vagabroad Journals, Brooklyn, New York), Anthony David Franklin (Penn State University, Pennsylvania), Daniel P. Kotzin (Medaille College, Buffalo, New York), Philip Krummrich (Morehead State University, Kentucky), Virginia Maresca (St. John’s University, Queens, New York), Alexa Potts (Morehead State University, Kentucky), Rachel Wagner (Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey), Suzy Woltmann (University of California, San Diego)

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Meandering plots, dead ends, and repetition, diaries do not conform to literary expectations, yet they still manage to engage the reader, arouse empathy and elicit emotional responses that many may be more inclined to associate with works of fiction. Blurring the lines between literary genres, diary writing can be considered a quasi-literary genre that offers a unique insight into the lives of those we may have otherwise never discovered.
This edited volume examines how diarists, poets, writers, musicians, and celebrities use their diary to reflect on multiculturalism and intercultural relations. Within this book, multiculturalism is defined as the sociocultural experiences of underrepresented groups who fall outside the mainstream of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and language. Multiculturalism reflects different cultures and racial groups with equal rights and opportunities, equal attention and representation without assimilation. In America, the multicultural society includes various cultural and ethnic groups that do not necessarily have engaging interaction with each other whereas, importantly, intercultural is a community of cultures who learn from each other, and have respect and understand different cultures.
Presented as a collection of academic essays and creative writing, The Diary as Literature Through the Lens of Multiculturalism in America analyses diary writing in its many forms from oral diaries and memoirs to letters and travel writing. Divided into three sections: Diaries of the American Civil War, Diaries of Trips and Letters of Diaspora, and Diaries of Family, Prison Lyrics, and a Memoir, the contributors bring a range of expertise to this quasi-literary genre including comparative and transatlantic literature, composition and rhetoric, history and women and gender studies.


Introduction: Diary as a Quasi-Literary Genre
Angela Hooks, Ph.D.
Independent Scholar

Part I. Diaries of the American Civil War
Chapter 1 Using Personal Diaries as a Site for Reconstructing African American History
Corey Greathouse
Austin Community College, USA

Chapter 2 Writing Their Lives During the Civil War: The Diaries of Irish-American Soldiers in the Union Army
Daniel P. Kotzin
Associate Professor

Chapter 3 “Of him who has carried it on the tented field”: William P. Woodlin’s Diary as Representation of Shifting Racial Statuses in Civil War Era America
Anthony David Franklin
University of Toledo, USA

Chapter 4 A Lifetime Sowing the Blues: The Diary of Lucius Clark Smith, 1834-1915
Kelsey Paige Mason
The Ohio State University, USA

Chapter 5 “I Can't Pass Away from Her”: Adaptation and the Diaristic Impulse of The Wind Done Gone
Suzy Woltmann
University of California, San Diego

Part II. Diaries of Trips & Letters of the Diaspora

Chapter 6 Black Women’s Journals Reflect Mine, Yours, and Ours: Through the Travel Writing of Juanita Harrison
Chimene Jackson
University of Toledo, USA

Chapter 7 When the Clash of Cultures is Like the Clash of Cymbals: Olive Dame Campbell’s Appalachian Travels
Philip Krummrich and Alexa Potts
Morehead State University, Kentucky

Chapter 8 The Lost Girl of Havana: A Tale of Afro-Cuban Diasporic Memory
Aisha Z. Cort
Howard University, USA

Part III. Diaries of Family and Jail, & A Memoir

Chapter 9 The Praxis of Oral Diaries Maintained by Bengali Women: Considering Personal Autoethnography & Motherhood Narrative
Sumaira Ahammed
St. John’s University, USA

Chapter 10 Diaries of Me, Myself, and Grandma
Angela Hooks
Independent Scholar

Chapter 11 Mixed-Race Memoirs: Uncovering Color-Blind Multiculturalism
Virginia Maresca
St. John’s University, USA

Chapter 12 “Worth Writing About”: Lil Wayne’s Jail Journal Gone ‘Til November
Rachel Wagner
Seton Hall University




Angela R. Hooks, Ph.D., MFA, is an active practitioner and theorist of diary and journaling techniques for writing and everyday life. She has taught writing and literature since 2006 in both public and private institutions, community college, and four-year universities. Her writing both scholarly and creative has appeared online and in print.
The idea for this book derived from a roundtable session of the same name for the 2019 NeMLA Conference. Notably, the roundtable was the result of a literature course Dr. Hooks teaches. Teaching diary as literature sprouted from her passion for diary writing. For three decades, she progressed from writing in a diary to teaching others to write in a diary, to bringing the diary into the classroom to researching the lives of other diary-keepers, and reading other people's diaries—published and unpublished—to writing her dissertation about Black women diary writers because their diaries had been "lost through sabotage" and "rarely published."

biomedicine, labor, migraine, self-tracking devices, neoliberalism, capitalism, poetics, Anais Nin, Ida B. Wells, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Joan Didion, Deleuzoguattarian ontology of illness, Irish, Civil War, soldiers, literary identity, Ancestral, Black Women, Archiving, capitalism,dismantle, documentation,remember, sisterhood, whiteness, slave narrative, African-American, signification, adaptation, intertextuality. Appalachia, travel, education, Barack Obama, Trevor Noah, color-blind racism, Nineteenth century, Farming,Teaching, Education, Agriculture, Livestock, Depression, Financial Hardship, Lucius Clark Smith, Ohio, Midwest, Labor, Vocation, Work, Mobility