Keith M Feldman
Concentration on one writer or a special group of American writers.
Toni Morrison, Post-Modernity, and the Post-Civil Rights Era This capstone course takes as it archive several works of fiction and nonfiction by Toni Morrison, a slice of the voluminous secondary literature on Morrison, and a range of theoretical texts, in order to ask a set of literary, political, historical, and theoretical question. These questions include: how do Morrison's texts register and respond to the continuities and breaks marking the history of race in the U.S.? How do these texts theorize and evidence the intersectionality of race, gender, and class? What are the formal, aesthetic, performative, and representational strategies imbuing Morrison's work? How are questions of memory, history, and geography opened up by her works? How do these relate to broader transformations in form seen across the post-civil rights moment? How do these texts enable us to think about the relation between the post-civil rights and post-modern eras? We will attempt to read Morrison and her interlocutors as bound up in both the critical destabilizing work her texts have engendered for U.S. literary canon formation, and her recent incorporation into precisely such a national canon. Novels will include The Bluest Eye, Sula, Beloved, Jazz, and A Mercy; also, Playing in the Dark and Morrison's writing on Clarence Thomas and OJ Simpson.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading