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AFR 302
Complexion Complexities: Colorism in Literature, Lyrics & Everyday Life Spring 2020
Division II
Cross-listed COMP 309 / AFR 302

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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.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 20
Class#: 3044
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, response papers, one 6- to 8-page paper, and a formal class presentation
Prerequisites: none
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 309 Division I AFR 302 Division II
Attributes: AFR Core Electives
AMST Arts in Context Electives
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora

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