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The Black Woman: Post-Civil Rights African-American Women’s Literature

ENGL 290.401

Since 1970, when Toni Morrison published The Bluest Eye, Alice Walker released The Third Life of Grange Copeland, and Toni Cade Bambara published her anthology. The Black Woman, African-American women writers have produced an unprecedented number of novels, plays, essays, and books of poetry.  In this course, we will examine how African-American feminist literature reflected and sometimes resisted the political ideologies and aesthetic concerns of the feminist, Civil Rights, and Black Power movements.  After reading novels by Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Paule Marshall, essays by Michele Wallace and Audre Lorde, and poetry by ntzoake shange and Sonia Sanchez, we will then explore how successive generations of black women writers, such playwright Suzan Lori-Parks, poets Elizabeth Alexander and Stacyanne Chin, and novelists Danzy Senna, Edwidge Danticat, Martha Southgate and Chimamanda Adichie have responded to these earlier texts with their additional emphasis on queerness, hip hop, immigration, and multiraciality.  Essays, music, and films from other artists who have influenced the creative vision and the movement of African-American feminist writing supplement the works of fiction, poetry, and drama that constitute the central material of the course.

fulfills requirements
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major