The African American Short Story
In this survey of African American writers of the short story, we will follow the trajectory of the form as it moves from a reliance on African and African American folk sources to a deep engagement with modernist practices, ending up with stories reflecting the influence of postmodernism. Using a variety of strategies, the course will investigate the ways African American writers contemplate the issues of voice, community, and selfhood. Authors in the course will include Charles Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Cyrus Colter, Alice Walker, Toni Cade Bambara, James Alan McPherson, Z.Z. Packer, and Charles Johnson. Coursework will consist of several short papers and either a longer critical paper or a final project.