Introduction to African-American Literature
This course will explore the flow of African American literature from its origins to the present. Our non-linear journey (circling from the 21st century to the 18th century) will pivot on: cultural movements (such as the 1920s and 30s Harlem Renaissance and the 1960s and 70s Black Arts Movement); tensions between black radicalism and black “respectability”; the rise of black feminist literary traditions; and the styles, themes, and forms that connect and separate African American literature from a larger tradition of American literature. We will read a wide range of novels, drama, short stories, and poetry. The assigned reading may include poetry by Claudia Rankine, Phillis Wheatley, Langston Hughes, and Gwendolyn Brooks, novels by Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Octavia Butler, drama by Amiri Baraka, Lynn Nottage, and August Wilson, and short stories by James Baldwin and Alice Walker.