Twenty-first century African American literature extends a long tradition of African American literature and also breaks with tradition as it creates new space for satire, experimentation, and less legible images of class, gender, race, and community. This seminar will uncover the styles and themes that are defining the early years of 21st century African American literature. We will focus on the new literary voices that have emerged in the 21st century and, also, writers whose 21st century art is the late stage of their larger literary flow.
Our texts may include Percival Everett’s Erasure, Danzy Senna’s New People, Claudine Rankine’s Citizen, Lynn Nottage’s play Sweat, Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, Suzan-Lori Parks’ 100 Plays for the First Hundred Days, and Evie Shockley’s The New Black. Short, creative reading responses and two essays will be assigned.