Comparative Literature | Black Atlantic in Theory and Literature
C400 | 1134 | Halloran, V

Section meets with C504
Section carries cultural studies credit

Class Meets:  MW 11:15-12:30P   BH 317

Beginning with a careful study of  Paul Gilroy’s seminal text, Black
Atlantic, this course will consider how African American and
Caribbean texts thematize the sea voyage across this body of water
as a determining event.  We will consider how Gilroy’s use of an
ethnic or racial marker to describe the Atlantic Ocean sets up a
problematic power dynamic which seems to discount its role as the
route of various other diasporic migrations to the New World.  A
second aim of this course is to serve as a corrective to Gilroy’s
broad survey of the Anglophone literature of the African diaspora by
restoring Caribbean texts written in Spanish, English and French to
their rightful place  in this canon alongside African American and
Black British literary traditions.  Among the texts we will read are
Frederick Douglass’s The Heroic Slave, Alejo Carpentier’s The
Kingdom of this World,  Maryse Condé’s I, Tituba, Black Witch of
Salem, Quobna Cugoano’s Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of
Slavery, Caryl Phillips’s Atlantic Sound,  and the eponymous
Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands.  By expanding
Gilroy’s working definition of the literature of the African
diaspora, we will consider whether his arguments hold true on a
transnational basis or if they have more regional currency.