The last 60 years has seen African American poetry, fiction, and drama move from being largely ignored by critics, to a more central position in literary studies. With African American writers either receiving or being nominated for major literary prizes, it is clear that African American writing is no longer an anachronism. In light of this circumstance, this introductory level graduate seminar will examine the works of African American writers, all under the age of 40, who are beginning to exert influence in the world of American letters. We will be interested in the role gender, race, and sexual orientation play in the works of emerging African American writers, particularly in light of the pressure to conform to proscribed notions of racial authenticity and allegiance. What sorts of aesthetic problems do these writers face? Are they under the same political demands as writers from the Black Arts Movement? Writers in the course will include Terrance Hayes, Major Jackson, Kevin Young, Natasha Trethewey, Colson Whitehead, David Anthony Durham, Suzan-Lori Parks, Danzy Senna, and Honoree Jeffers. We will work primarily in the genres of poetry, fiction, and drama. Writing for the course will include several short essays and a final paper due at the end of the term.
Fulfills 4, 6, & 3 requirements.