Wherever slavery existed, there were those who resisted it, many of whom paid with their lives. This course examines the literature of Black rebellions in the African Diaspora from the 1700s and 1800s. By reading accounts by and about Black rebels and revolutionaries, we will consider how the literature and discourse of Black rebellion shaped traditions of Black radicalism as well as U.S. American notions of democracy and civil rights. Our work will include the study of rebellions and revolts ranging from the Haitian Revolution to Nat Turner’s Southampton Rebellion to the Amistad. We will consider literature and journalism documenting these events as they occurred, as well as some contemporary fiction, poetry, and graphic novels that re-imagine and re-mediate these narratives. The culmination of the class will be a collaborative digital project on a rebellion of the class’s choosing.
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.