English | African American Literature
L396 | 14392 | Don Belton
L396 14392 AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE
4:00p-5:15p TR (30 students) 3 cr. A&H. CSA.
TOPIC: “Black Is … Black Aint: Black Literature, Drama And The
The course’s title “Black Is… Black Aint” comes from the sermon in
the prologue of Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man. Does “black”
refer to an existential condition or a social construction? Or does
it refer, increasingly, merely to a market demographic? This course
focuses on ways in which literature and modern media document,
dramatize and reveal cultural notions of self/other and
whiteness/other. In particular, we will ask questions about the
cultural relevance of historical racial representations in
literature. We will sample a range of promotional, news,
documentary and entertainment visual narrative formats in context.
However, our priority will be the close reading and critical
analysis of a set of commercially successful African-American
literary texts that have transformed the cultural politics of race,
representation and difference. Course authors include Ralph
Ellison, Richard Wright, Ann Petry, James Baldwin, Ntozake Shange,
and August Wilson.