TEACHING THE IMPORTANCE OF SPACE AND PLACE: Robert Stepto’s “ritual grounds”

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Teaching Ethnic American Literature comparatively can be a challenge in the college classroom. This chapter contextualizes Robert Stepto's ritual grounds concept within African American culture, history, and literary history; and illustrates how to teach and to apply the concept as a literary tool, utilizing such textual examples as Danzy Senna's Caucasia (1998) and Colson Whitehead's Sag Harbor (2009). It briefly discusses how the concept is applicable to teaching other Ethnic American literary texts. For African-Americans, their communities/homes can be "ritual grounds", "black spaces" where they are generally separated from surrounding "white spaces". As demonstrated in this chapter, Stepto's RitualGrounds is an excellent concept to use to teach place and space in literary texts. Although the concept is rooted in African American experience and literary criticism, it is extremely effective in the comparative study of Ethnic American Literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTeaching Space, Place, and Literature
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781351693981
ISBN (Print)9781138046979
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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