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Complexion Complexities: Colorism in Literature, Lyrics & Everyday Life
/ AFR 302
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.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
class participation, response papers, one 6- to 8-page paper, and a formal class presentation
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AFR Core Electives
AMST Arts in Context Electives
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora