L396 27017 STUDIES IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND
10:10a-11:00a MWF (30 students) 3 cr. A&H, Culture Studies List A.
TOPIC: “The Harlem Renaissance”
This course will examine the movement, running roughly from 1919 to 1937, that helped set the general directions of African American literature for the twentieth century. It will consider the relationship of the movement to social and political movements and the broader phenomenon of “modernism” in the arts, and to rising imaginings of a transatlantic black diaspora. The participation of whites in the movement, and conflicting judgments on that participation, will be an important topic as well. We will consider the major controversies over the nature of race and its significance for art and culture while examining major literary achievements of the period. Texts will include W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk; poetry of Langston Hughes and his collection of stories, The Ways of White Folks; Nella Larsen, Quicksand or Passing; The New Negro, edited by Alain Locke; poetry by Claude McKay and Countee Cullen; Nigger Heaven by Carl Van Vechten; George Schuyler, Black No More; James Weldon Johnson, God’s Trombones; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; and other works. Attention will also be given to the music and fine arts of the period.
Requirements will include a short “diagnostic” paper early in the semester, and then either two papers of 5-7 pages or one longer term paper of 10-12 pages; a mid-term and a final exam; and class participation.