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Citified: Urban Space and Racial Identity in African American Literature

ENGL 081.401
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

“Citified” is an examination of the experience of the city in African American literature.  In exploring the ways in which African American writers have imagined and represented urban space, urban life, and urban identity over time and in particular historical moments, we will consider issues (such as class structure, family organization, gender roles, redline segregation, economic conditions, political climate, social milieu) that have contributed both to the production of the texts and to the cultural and racial work they perform.  

Texts selected from: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Dutchman; Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition; Edwidge Danticat, Breath, Eyes, Memory; Rudolph Fisher, The Conjure Man Dies; Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun; Langston Hughes, Montage of A Dream Deferred; Nella Larsen, Quicksand; Toni Morrison, Jazz; Walter Mosley, Devil in a Blue Dress; Gloria Naylor, The Women of Brewster Place; Dorothy West, The Living Is Easy; John Edgar Wideman, Philadelphia Fire; Richard Wright, Eight Men; and selected documentary and feature films.