ENGL 314
Groovin' the Written Word: The Role of Music in African American Literature Fall 2016 Division I; Cross-listed as AMST314 / COMP321 / ENGL314 / AFR314
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In an interview with Paul Gilroy, Toni Morrison once said, “Music provides a key to the whole medley of Afro-American artistic practices.” Morrison is not the only one who believes that music speaks to numerous aspects of the African American experience. From Sterling Brown and Zora Neale Hurston to John Edgar Wideman and Suzan Lori-Parks, many African American authors have drawn on music to take political stands, shape creative aesthetics, and articulate black identity. In this course, students will explore the work of these authors and more, investigating music’s ability to represent and critique African American culture in their literature. Texts will cover a range of literary forms including poetry, plays, short stories and novels alongside theoretical and critical essays. Students will discuss such key issues as assimilation into mainstream culture, authenticity claims on black music, and music used as a tool for protest. Additionally, class assignments will include musical examples in spirituals/gospel, blues, jazz, and rock/rhythm and blues. While this class requires students to practice in-depth literary and performance analysis skills, students are not required to have technical musical knowledge.
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 1009
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based upon class participation, short weekly reading responses and/or listening assignments, one 3-page paper, one 6- to 8-page paper comparing two works, one in-class spoken word performance with 2-page report, final presentation
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none; open to all
Distributions: Division I;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AFR or AMST; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP or ENGL
Attributes: AFR Core Electives; AMST Arts in Context Electives; AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora;

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