ENGL 248
Black Women in African American Literature and Culture Fall 2017 Division I; Writing-Intensive; Exploring Diversity Initiative; Cross-listed as ENGL248 / AMST248 / WGSS258
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This course surveys constructions of black womanhood from the nineteenth century to the present through readings of texts by and about black women. In this course, students will trace how black womanhood became central to uplift ideology and the making and sustaining of black communities in the post-Reconstruction, Harlem Renaissance, and Black Power eras. We will read works across a broad historical spectrum to identify the ways different writers wrestle with race and gender using literary tropes, such as the “tragic mulatto,” in different social contexts. We will also engage a range of forms, including an essay (Patricia Hill Collins’s “Mammies, Matriarchs, and Other Controlling Images”), a choreopoem (Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf), and socio-political propaganda (the “Black is Beautiful” movement). This course will end with a consideration of the way writer and producer Issa Rae engages with contemporary ideologies of black womanhood in the HBO series Insecure. This course contributes to the College’s Exploring Diversity Initiative by examining the social, political, cultural, and historical forces that contribute to depictions of black women in literature and culture.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1936
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, 4 short papers totaling about 20 pp., final project on the hashtag #blackgirlmagic
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preference: first- and second-year students, and English majors who have yet to take a Gateway course
Distributions: Division I; Writing-Intensive; Exploring Diversity Initiative;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST or WGSS
Attributes: ENGL 200-level Gateway Courses;

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