Intro to African American Literature
This introduction to African American literature will begin with contemporary, groundbreaking texts such as Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric and Toni Morrison’s A Mercy.These twenty-first century texts will lead us to the questions about freedom, beauty, struggle, pleasure, and resistance that shape the origins of African American literature.
The course will be shaped around circles of influence (not a linear mapping of a literary tradition). These circles of the “changing same” become the art of flow, layering, and rupture. We will dive into the multidirectional flow of “slave narratives/neo-slave narratives,” “black modernism/black postmodernism,” “black respectability politics/black radicalism,” and “mastery of form/deformation of mastery.”