AFR 108 Spring 2013 What Passes for Freedom?: Mixed-Race Figures in U.S. Culture (W)

Cross Listed as AMST107, ENGL108
The idea of a distinct category of individuals identified as "biracial," "multiracial," or "mixed-race" has become increasingly prominent over the past few decades, despite the inescapable fact that the existence of children of interracial couples is by no means new. Indeed, historically speaking, notions of "racial purity" are a relatively recent invention--what might now be called "race-mixing" is older than the concept of "race" itself. Why, then, has the figure of the mixed-race person been receiving so much attention? Why is this figure imagined as somehow novel or unprecedented? Is there something different about the contemporary social experience of children of interracial couples? Why do people who do not share this experience take so much interest in it? Our pursuit of these questions will take us back to earlier periods in U.S. history, and to different figures appearing at the borders of established racial categories, such as the "tragic mulatta" or the "passing" figure. Most of our readings will be drawn from African American literature and works by other writers of color, but you should also expect a substantial amount of scholarly writing on theories and histories of race. These readings will lead to some highly charged discussions--which will not always end comfortably, or with everyone in agreement. Because this course is writing-intensive, we'll spend significant time developing writing skills, with an emphasis on collaborative learning.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, regular short writing assignments, and four to five papers totaling about 20 pages
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: first-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level English course
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Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AFR or AMST
Divisional Attributes: Division II,Writing Intensive
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Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 3580
AFR108-01(S) SEM Mixed-Race Figures/US Culture (W) Division 2: Social StudiesWriting Intensive Vincent J. Schleitwiler
MWF 09:00 AM-09:50 AM Griffin 1 3580
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