Jul 17, 2024  
Catalogue 2023-2024 
Catalogue 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ENGL 251 - Topics in Black Literatures

Semester Offered: Spring
1 unit(s)
(Same as AFRS 251 ) This course considers Black literatures in all their richness and diversity. The focus changes from year to year, and may include study of a historical period, literary movement, or genre. The course may take a comparative, diasporic approach or may examine a single national or regional literature.

Topic for 2023/24b: Literatures of Black Awkwardness. The present moment seems to demand a critical exploration of awkwardness because of its increased use as a comedic trope and mode of representation for African American writers. Awkward black subjects have a lengthy history. One literary example we can consider is the moment when a white female student refuses the visiting card and perhaps later affections of the young W. E. B. Dubois in the opening chapter of The Souls of Black Folk. We should keep in mind that this peculiar encounter across the color line occasions Dubois to reflect upon the question often posed him, “How does it feel to be a problem?” and posit “double- consciousness” as the psychic conundrum that vexes, if not constitutes, black selfhood. We can also put in this category, the orphaned and precocious mute, Maya Angelou, whose sexual victimization can be attributed to her misfit and thus unprotected black girlhood. But we engage many more examples in this course. Writers include Issa Rae, James Baldwin, Paul Beatty, Danzy Senna, Kiese Laymon, Ta’ Nehisi Coates, Bassey Ikpi, and Kenya Barris. Tyrone Simpson.

The course satisfies the REGS requirement for the English major.

Two 75-minute periods.

Course Format: CLS

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