ENGL 366 - African-American Literature
Prerequisite: Take one English course between 201 and 295, and one between 222 and 299. A focused engagement with the African-American literary tradition, from its beginnings in the late 18th century through its powerful assertions in the 21st. The focus of each term's offering may vary; different versions of the course might emphasize a genre, author, or period such as poetry, Ralph Ellison, or the Harlem Renaissance.
Fall 2018, ENGL 366-01: African-American Literature: Make a Body Riot: Laughter, Resistance, and African American Literature (3). How does what makes us laugh position us, either as audience or collaborator? What does the intersection of comedy and performance have to show us about identity formation in relation to race, class, and gender? How might laughter—as a release, as a physical expression, as an indicator of one's interior life, or even as a mode of protest—help us better understand many aesthetic, thematic, acoustic, and political aspects of African-American literature? In pursuing answers to these questions, we center recurring themes and genres in the development of African-American literature throughout the 20th century—such as the role of Black literature in society; the intersections of race, class, and gender; the afterlives of slavery; the historical novel; the role of humor in community formation; and the significance of sound, among others. To guide our discussions, we locate each text within its historical-cultural context and make use of critical sources. Authors we might cover include Charles W. Chesnutt, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, Chester Himes, Fran Ross, George C. Wolfe, Toni Morrison, and Paul Beatty. (HL) Millan. Staff.
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