Selected writings, novels, short stories, plays, poems by Afro-American writers. Study of the historical and cultural context within which they evolved. Differences between Afro-American writers and writers of the European-American tradition. Emphasis varies. Offered: jointly with ENGL 358.
This course is an introduction to some of the theoretical, cultural and political contexts of twentieth-century African American literary production.
Spanning from the “New Negro” era of the 1920s, to the “postmodern” period of the 1980s and 90s, our goal will be to examine how various authors respond to the paradigms of an African American literary tradition. In part, we will trace concerns over aesthetics, defining black identity and the meaning of community. We will also be attentive to how questions of race intersect with concerns over gender, sexuality, class and nationality.
Texts likely to include: Winston Napier, ed., African American Literary Theory: A Reader; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room; Toni Morrison, Sula; Andrea Lee, Sarah Phillips; Paul Beatty, The White Boy Shuffle, and Danzy Senna, Caucasia.
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