This course will use the African American short story as a vehicle for investigating issues of gender and class and how they shape African American identity politics. We will examine the storytelling tradition in African American culture, from its beginnings in folk culture to its uses in the literary imagination. Of particular interest is the heroic tradition: the manner in which representations of African American masculinity intersect with issues of class and caste, as well as the way representations of feminity lead us to question the nature of African American nationalism. Readings in the course include Douglass, Toomer, Hurston, Hughes, Wright, Petry, Ellison, Walker, and McPherson.
This course is a "General Requirement" course within the "Arts & Letters" sector. Each College of Arts & Sciences student must take one "General Requirement" course within Arts & Letters and one "distributional" course. English 103 is a "General Requirement" course.