Major II: G-Empire/Race/Ethnicity

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.

27112

Luk, Sharon

What is “Black marxism”: How does such a perspective define “marxism,” and what makes Black radicalism different? How does the latter define, and how is... (read more)

27692

Li, David

Reading important writers of Asian American descent, this class is concerned with the following: 1. Where is Asian America? 2. What is an Asian American? Is it... (read more)

12186

Whalan, Mark

This course will examine a variety of texts that engage the modern state–its functions and possibilities; its ability to repress and coerce; its ability to forge new and enduring kinds of social connection; and what place, if any, it allows for literary culture.

It will examine some of the... (read more)

16458

Barter, Faith

In the decades leading up to the Civil War, it was illegal for slaves to learn how to read or write. It was illegal for them to testify in court, except against each other or to confess a crime. In the North, free African Americans often did not fare much better: there they were susceptible to... (read more)

17023

Warren, Joyce Pualani

Liminal Form(s): Ethnic American Short Fiction

This course will examine Ethnic American short fiction, paying particular attention to the ways its structure and content uphold and contest literary, corporeal, and national form(s).... (read more)

42252

Gazaille, Brian

This class explores how black women writers of the twentieth century have taken up the themes of time, memory, and identity. These writers often conceived of literature as a project of memory and recovery, a place, as Ntzoake Shange puts it in Sassafrass, Cypress, & Indigo, for... (read more)

42419

Casimir, Ulrick

Focusing primarily on American/Hollywood filmmaking from the late 1960s through today, this course looks closely at the representation and function of African-Americans and women in film. Using both mainstream and independent films as our primary texts, we will explore how African-Americans and... (read more)

32040

Upton, Corbett

Credited with inaugurating the Harlem Renaissance and inspiring the Negrítude movement, Claude McKay is best known as America’s most important protest sonneteer. McKay’s storied literary career documents the life of a black expatriate modern and his sense of the Black Atlantic experience during... (read more)

35970

Whalan, Mark

African American Authors of the Harlem Renaissance

This course will examine the work of three major African American authors: Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes. These three did much to set the tone of the flourishing of black literary culture after World World One known... (read more)

36001

Brown, Kirby

There is perhaps no image more widely recognized yet more grossly misunderstood in American popular culture than the “Indian.” Across a variety of discursive forms, “the Indian” has been represented as everything from an irredeemable savage and an impediment to progress to an idealized figure of... (read more)

36674

Brundan, Katherine

The Language of Novels

This course will focus on the politics of language in nineteenth-century novels, exploring elements such as translation, “primitive” language, philology, the spoken/unspoken, and different registers of dialogue. We will encounter novels that imagine various... (read more)

22743

Brown, Kirby

Cherokee/Choctaw scholar Louis Owens declared that all Native novels are centrally occupied with recovering and (re)articulating an Indigenous sense of identity from within the discursive and linguistic contexts of colonialism. For Owens, this inherently dialogic process draws heavily on... (read more)

26841

Wald, Sarah

Latinx Literary Environmentalisms

Latinx literature and culture sit at the cutting edge of contemporary environmental thought. This class examines the intertwining of social and environmental justice in contemporary Latinx literature and cultural production, including fiction, film, and... (read more)

26842

Gazaille, Brian

Secret Agency: Navigating Race and Identity in Passing Fictions

While nineteenth-century America touted itself as a place where people could reinvent themselves as self-made, prosperous, fully enfranchised citizens, it was also the period when categories like race, gender, and class became... (read more)

27607

Fickle, Tara

Asian American Comics

The growing acceptance of comics and graphic novels as “serious” literature owes much to the genre’s embrace as a powerful vehicle for memory, especially by minority writers seeking to showcase “non-normative” accounts of American life: the experiences of being gay,... (read more)

16954

Bohls, Elizabeth

Slavery shaped the ecology, economy, and culture of the Atlantic Rim, including parts of Europe, Africa, and the Americas. In the long eighteenth century (1660-1838), British slavery on the Caribbean sugar islands reached its peak, was fought by the abolitionist movement and ended by Parliament... (read more)

42386

This course explores the literature of Ken Kesey, viewed in the context of American literary precursors, two significant novels, and subsequent writings by and about the author. To “frame” our study in this most compressed—four week!—course, our understanding will be aided by Richard Poirier’s... (read more)