African-American Short Story in the 21st Century
In this survey of African American writers of the short story, we will follow the trajectory of the form as it moves from a reliance on African and African American folk sources to a deep engagement with modernist practices, ending up with stories reflecting the influence of postmodernism and neoliberalism, in particular, emergent forms like flash (or sudden) fiction. Using a variety of strategies, the course will investigate the ways African American writers contemplate the issues of voice, community, and selfhood as they project them against the screens emerging from the discourses of race, gender, class, and sexualities. Authors in the course will include established writers like Charles Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Cyrus Colter, Alice Walker, Toni Cade Bambara, James Alan McPherson, and Charles Johnson, as well as more contemporary writers like Danielle Evans, Issa Rae, Desiree Cooper, Z.Z. Packer, Edward P. Jones, and James McBride. There will be several short papers and students may elect to try their luck writing flash fiction.