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Forced Radicals? Black Women Writers and the Protest Tradition

ENGL 281.601
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

This course will analyze works of African-American women poets, novelists and
autobiographers from the turn of the century to the present in their historical
context (post-Civil War advances, "reconstruction," lynchings, the Harlem
Renaissance, the Era of the Modern Protest Novel, the Civil Rights movement,
Black Arts and beyond). Taking the literary back and forth between Zora Neale
Hurston and Richard Wright as our point of departure, we will explore how the
often contentious conversations between black female and male writers created a
space for these women writers to work through the politics of representation.
We will examine how these conversations about representation helped establish a
protest tradition in 20th century African American literature. In addition to
Hurston and Wright, we will engage writers such as Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B.
DuBois, Jean Toomer, Ann Petry, Marita Bonner, Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison,
Eldridge Cleaver, and Audre Lorde. Course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in US for Class 2012 and after in the College.