Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

AfAm Literature: Law, Race, Narrative: The 1850's and the 1950's

ENGL 770.401
W 3-6

In exploring the intersectionality of law, race, and narrative in African American literature, we will focus on the 1850's and the 1950's, two landmark periods in the legal formation of racial identities, in the juridical conception of "raced" rights, and in the literary production of racial narratives by writers of African descent in the United States. Reading from: Frederick Douglass, "The Heroic Slave"; William Wells Brown, Clotel; or The President's Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States; Martin Delany, Blake; or The Huts of America; Harriet Wilson, Our Nig; Richard Wright, The Outsider; Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun, Ntozake Shange, Betsey Brown; Thulani Davis, 1959; and Annette Gordon-Reed, Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History; Alan Hyde, Bodies of Law; Mark Tushnet, The American Law of Slavery; Gregg Crane, Race, Citizenship, and Law in American Literature; and Derrick Bell, Silent Covenants:Brown v Board of Education.