Examines the origins and development of African American literature and culture in relevant intellectual, social, and historical contexts.
Black Feminist Literature
In this course, we will study works from the vast body of Black feminist literature. Our texts will be by African American women writers, activists, teachers, and intellectuals and will span the late-nineteenth century to the present. Our readings will be diverse in form and genre, including poetry, fiction, anthologies, manifestos, and scholarly essays from a variety of disciplines. What will unite our readings is their shared investment in Black women's liberation. Authors whose works we may read include Frances Harper, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Cade Bambara, Barbara Christian, Audre Lorde, Michelle Wallace, Ntozake Shange, June Jordan, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Angela Davis. We will read these women's works closely, studying the formal and thematic traits of every text we encounter. We will examine implicit and explicit theories in our readings of the role of literature in the work of liberation. This class requires substantial reading and writing and vigorous participation.
Multicultural, Identity, Pluralism, and Tolerance (IP) courses examine the social construction of collective identities, the emergence of representative voices from varying social and cultural standpoints, and the effects of prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination. The purpose of courses in this category is to analyze the general principles underlying tolerance, or the lack of it.
US: Difference, Inequality, and Agency courses focus on race and ethnicity in the United States by considering two or more racial and ethnic groups.
Gender, Ability, Queer Studies, and/or Sexuality courses focus on the ways that issues of sexuality, gender, queerness, and disability are represented, critiqued, and developed in media and literature.
Empire, Race, and/or Ethnicity courses focus on ways that race matters in literature, media, and culture. Recent courses have examined such matters as native American literature and film; nineteenth-century writings by slavers and enslaved people in the U.S. and British colonies; fiction and filmmaking in post-apartheid South Africa; Latinx science fiction and environmental justice, and the novels of Toni Morrison.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.