Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Narrating Race in the Post-Racial Era

ENGL 281.401
crosslisted as: AFRC 281
instructor(s):
TR 10:30-12
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major
Cultural Diversity in the US of the College's General Education Curriculum

Has the U.S. really entered a 'post-racial era'? To evaluate whether and how race matters in the twenty-first century, we will need to understand what race has meant historically. We will first turn to the nineteenth-century African American liberation narrative, in which authors insist on their place in the human community as they also call attention to the injustice of slavery. From there we will examine works produced in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries, when attention to gender, class, and sexual preference complicates what it means to be black. Authors in the course will likely include Frederick Douglass, Andrea Lee, Charles Johnson, Danzy Senna, Edward P. Jones, August Wilson, and Toni Morrison, along with filmmakers Julie Dash, Malcolm Lee, and Charles Burnett. Work in the course will consist of short papers, a class presentation, and a final project.  

 

Keywords: Passing, African American, Narrative, Slavery, Post-Racial, Belonging

Fulfills the College's Cultural Diversity in the US (CDUS) requirement.