AMST 208
Time and Blackness Fall 2018
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed REL 262 / AMST 208 / AFR 208
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The concept of time is one of the most examined, yet least theorized, concepts in Africana Studies. While the field is saturated with historical studies and literary analyses that take up issues of cultural memory, both of which involve thinking about time, time itself is rarely the subject of sustained inquiry. This may be due to its abstractness as an idea and the level of analysis its conceptualization demands, or because time in the African American experience cannot be understood outside of the meaning of race, which itself is far from tangible. In this tutorial, “Time and Blackness,” we will explore how African American writers across a number of genres understand time. We will read select texts of fiction as well as spiritual autobiographies, historical narratives, and sociological studies to understand how writers draw from–and create–paradigms of time to organize their work. The following questions will structure our investigation: What are the constituent elements of time in African American writing? How does race shape the ways a writer conceives of the experience of time? In examining writings across genres, is there something that we can call an identifiable African-American “timescape”?
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1041
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: assignments will include six 2-page response papers; two 5-page writing assignments; and a final, 10-page review essay on how time is understood in a genre of writing
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: concentrators in Africana Studies, majors in Religious Studies, and majors in American Studies
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
REL 262 Division II AMST 208 Division II AFR 208 Division II
Attributes: AFR Core Electives
AMST Arts in Context Electives
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora

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