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African-American Lit

ENGL 081.601
instructor(s):
M 6:30-9:10

In 1903 W.E.B. DuBois described the dilemma faced by the African-American artist who seeks to capture "the soul-beauty of a race which his larger audience despised," knowing that "he could not articulate the message of another people." In this survey course we will consider how DuBoisian "double consciousness" and especially the need to represent the collective -- frequently to a hostile "larger audience" -- has shaped the African American literary tradition. The course will encompass a wide range of historical periods (the eighteenth through the twentieth century), literary movements (the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, Womanist Writing, etc.) and cultural forms (novels, poetry, plays, film, political oratory, etc.) and may include such canonical authors as Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Charles Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, and Toni Morrison, as well as less-studied figures like Briton Hammon, Abraham Johnstone, and Terri McMillan.