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Introduction to African American Literature: Textual Subjects, Subjective Texts: Reading African American Literature

ENGL 081.401
instructor(s):
TR 12-1:30

In examining the creative and cultural work performed by writers of African descent in an often oppressive and hostile U.S., we will consider not only the construction of racial identity and communal affiliation but also the representation of expressive cultures and social practices disturbing racial and artistic hegemony. Our readings will be organized around three tropic clusters: Out of Bondage--Making the Modern; Out of Body--Aestheticizing the African; and Out of Bounds--Constructing the Community. Texts: Amiri Baraka, Dutchman; Charles Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman; Rudolph Fisher, The Conjure Man Dies: A Mystery Tale of Dark Harlem; Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon; Walter Mosley, Devil in a Blue Dress; Gloria Naylor, Mama Day; Alice Walker, In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women; a sampling of vernacular materials; sample poems by Langston Hughes, Melvin Tolson, Robert Hayden, Margaret Walker, Gwendolyn Brooks, Etheridge Knight, Michael Harper, Lucille Clifton, Sonia Sanchez, Rita Dove, and Al Young; and selected essays by James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Hortense Spillers, and bell hooks.