COMP 309 Fall 2014 Complexion Complexities: Colorism in Literature, Lyrics & Everyday Life

Cross Listed as AFR302
Often viewed as the "dirty laundry" of the Black American past, colorism, or skin color bias, is a pervasive force within modern global society. Although it is not a new issue, its impact is far reaching and continues to have damaging effects on people of color-especially members within the African Diaspora. From skin bleaching creams like "Whitenicious" to rap music's fetishization of light-skinned women, colorism is a very real and present issue affecting Black life. From the literary works of Wallace Thurman and Toni Morrison, to the lyrics of blues crooner Big Bill Broonzy and rapper Lil Wayne, we will analyze the many ways that the politics of color influence standards of beauty and attractiveness, perceptions of behavior and criminality, and economic attainment and stability.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation in this course will be based upon class participation, response papers, one 6- to 8-page paper, and a formal class presentation
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Prerequisites: none
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 20
Class Number: 1971
COMP 309 - 01 (F) SEM Complexion Complexities Division 1: Languages and the Arts VaNatta S. Ford
MR 1:10 PM-2:25 PM Paresky 112 1971
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