In this advanced seminar, we will confront the ways that issues of belonging and community assume transhistorical weight in African American expressive culture. We will move from the rhetorical negotiations of the African American liberation narrative which argue for African Americans's place in the human community through neo-liberation fiction, that works to subvert the kinds of foreclosures that grow out of more contemporary forms of identity politics. We will turn our attention in the latter portion of the course a variety of texts—poetic, dramatic, and cinematic—that struggle with the dilemmas of inter- and intraracial allegiance, aspiration, and critical consciousness. Authors in the course will likely include Nella Larsen, Andrea Lee, Toi Derricotte, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Alan McPherson, August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Toni Morrison. There will be several short papers and a final exam.