ENGL 335
The Great Debates: African American Literary Criticism Fall 2019
Division I
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Class Details

This course foregrounds the central debates, key questions, and methods that have been vital to the field of African American literature. We will ground our readings of fiction within African American literary theory and criticism from the 1920s through the present. This course is organized around four moments: (1) articulations of an emergent black critical aesthetic in the 1920s, (2) assertions of black nationalism and black feminisms as critical imperatives in the 1970s and beyond, (3) considerations of the value of structuralism to black narratives in the 1980s, and (4) investments in queer theory, Afro-pessimism, and the turn to affect in our current moment. We will engage such questions as: What is the role of the critic and of criticism and theory? How do we account for multiple interpretations of texts? Texts will be paired with criticism from various moments, which will allow us to interrogate the questions of language, signification, politics, embodiment, and nationalism that maintain this robust field of inquiry.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 2015
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three short papers, one research paper totaling at least 10 pages, and one class facilitation
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Distributions: Division I
Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses

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