Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

I, Too, Sing America: Introduction to African-American Literature

ENGL 081.401

This course will familiarize students with canonical writers in the African American literary tradition, while at the same time examining how particular genres like the slave narrative and passing novels, certain political events such as the Great Migration and the Civil Rights Movement, and distinct themes like invisibility, castration anxiety, and black feminism, simultaneously resurface and change throughout African-American literary history.   By pairing up texts by authors like Frederick Douglass and Octavia Butler, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker, Dorothy West and Colson Whitehead, Richard Wright, Sapphire, and Percival Everett, we will focus on the theoretical concept of ?signifying? and the tradition of African-American writers and texts responding, revising, and riffing on their literary predecessors.

fulfills requirements
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major