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"Where My Girls At?": African American Women Performers in the 20th Century

ENGL 281.401
crosslisted as: AFRC 335
instructor(s):
Thursday 1:30-4:30
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Cultural Diversity in the US of the College's General Education Curriculum

African American women performers from blues woman Bessie Smith to Paris revue star Josephine Baker, from jazz darling Billie Holiday to rock legend Tina Turner, and from hip hop giant Lauryn Hill to millennial star Beyoncé, have constantly redefined and expanded American popular music. Using the long 20th century as our historical marker, this course will explore how African American women performers, across genres and time, have consciously and sometimes contradictorily navigated the racial and sexual limits of American popular culture in order to assert their own particular narratives of artistic and political freedom.