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AFR 386
Democratic Vistas Spring 2020
Division II
Cross-listed AFR 386 / ENGL 391

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This seminar will focus on the ways in which texts create nuanced representations of democratic ideals and practices as well as, of course, representations of the failures of democratic ideals and practices. Our goal will be to explore how literature encourages readers to think about democracy, and what impact that can have on our lives as readers and citizens. To this end, we will study work across five genres–poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photography, and film–to arrange and enhance our sense of how plot, structure, figuration, and allusion occupy themselves with the challenge of the Democratic Vista: which is to say with visions of what democracy is, has been, and has the potential be. Among the texts and authors likely to be studied are Robert Hayden, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo, Jamaica Kincaid, Ishion Hutchinson, Natalie Diaz, Octavia Butler, Colson Whitehead, Morgan Parker, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyahm Teju Cole, and contemporary films such as Ryan Coogler’s BLACK PANTHER and Boots Riley’s SORRY TO BOTHER YOU.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 12
Class#: 4063
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: attendance and participation, two short essays, and a 12- to 15-page final paper; additional requirements will include film screenings outside of class, interactive (e.g., Skype, etc.) author visits inside of class, and campus talks germane to the seminar
Prerequisites: none, open to all students
Enrollment Preferences: Africana Studies concentrators and English majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AFR 386 Division II ENGL 391 Division I

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