In a 2011 interview with NPR, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison talks about the “haunting alertness” that is woven into all of her novels. As she continues to stand at the forefront of American letters, this class will explore how Toni Morrison continues to shape how we think about American literature and African American literature as it calls our attention to that which lies beyond this life but continues to impact us. With fiction that challenges the conventions of storytelling and non-fiction that incisively critiques American culture, we will explore the complex representations of childhood, nationhood, race, sexuality, gender, and class that make her one of our greatest writers. How does her work challenge, complicate, and haunt our understandings of American history from slavery to the contemporary? Alongside her essays, short stories, plays, and novels, we will also watch an adaptation of her most famous ghostly tale, Beloved, and explore how translating narrative to visual art can have an impact on the subtleties of Morrison’s work. Requirements include an in-class presentation, at least one short close- reading paper, and a final research paper.