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Topics in African-American Literature

ENGL 281.401
TR 9-10:30

Scholars who have studied the narrative practices that constitute both film and literature insist that these genres rely on vastly different modes of storytelling. Those differences, they generally argue, are most apparent in filmic adaptations of literary texts, which offer clear evidence of the narrative implications of film's primary reliance on the visual and literature's reliance on words or the discursive. Other issues may complicate the art/act of adaptation even further, including ideological, experiential, and thematic differences between the creator of the literary work and the film's director or producer or the studio by which the film is being bankrolled. During the course of the semester, we will be examining six contemporary film adaptations of black American narratives, and the texts -- primarily novels -- that inspired them, in part to test how predominantly white-owned film studios respond to the challenges posed by black American-authored texts whose critique of racism is often quite biting. In addition to weekly writing assignments, two short (5-7 page) papers, and some in-class responses, you'll be asked, for your final assignment, to write a section of a screenplay for a contemporary black American short story.

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