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Contemporary African American Literature
We will read and dissect fiction, poetry, drama, and criticism published from the middle of the twentieth century to the present. Our exploration will focus on the emergence of a distinctly black modernist and post-modernist literary discourse, often in response to and in conversation with contemporaneous Anglo-American literary movements and trends.
We will investigate some of the following: African American writers' engagement with the "Richard Wright School of Social Protest"; the evolution of the Black Arts/Black Aesthetic Movements of the 1960s and 1970s; the emergence of black feminist and womanist literature, criticism, and theory in the 1970s and 1980s; and the so-called "third renaissance" of the 1990s and 2000s. We will also examine these literary movements contemporary protest movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition to introducing you to African American literature and/or enhancing an existing knowledge of it, the class will concentrate primarily on strengthening your critical thinking and writing skills. In addition, students will be grouped in order to present Brainshark projects on a particular author, genre, theme, literary movement, or theoretical perspective at the end of the semester.