Selected seminars offered each year. Repeatable up to five times.
In this course, we will study poetry of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) in its literary, political, and cultural contexts. BAM is the cultural arm of the Black Power Movement and was at its peak from about 1965 to about 1976. BAM writers are diverse in terms of form, genre, gender, geography, and other vectors of identity, but are united in their belief that literature can and must foment Black liberation. We will closely read the form and content of a variety of poems by authors who did and who did not identify themselves as Black Arts poets in this period. We will use relevant scholarly writings to deepen our understanding of the aesthetics, politics, and history of the Black Arts Movement. We will listen to and watch poets performing their work and may also study relevant works of visual art. Authors whose works we may read include Amiri Baraka, Ntozake Shange, Larry Neal, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Sonia Sanchez, Ishmael Reed, Nikki Giovanni, Mari Evans, Jayne Cortez, and Gwendolyn Brooks. The goal of this course is to help you engage with African American literature, improving your writing, reading, and critical thinking skills in the process. This class requires substantial reading and writing and vigorous participation.
Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history. Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.
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.