ENGL 346
Negative Affects in African American Literature Spring 2018 Division I; Exploring Diversity Initiative; Cross-listed as AFR347 / ENGL346
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“My pessimism was stronger than my longing,” wrote Saidiya Hartman in her genre-breaking Lose Your Mother in her search for the afterlife of kinship in the remains of a Ghanaian slave fort. In this course we will discuss a mixture of contradictory “bad” feelings burdening the individual and the collective; for example, how hope and desire compete in Hartman’s statement with habituated disappointment and exhaustion. How do black subjects creatively overcome the racial foreclosure to write and recite violence, rage, refusal, anxiety, depression, idleness, grief, silence, etc.? And, further, how do we make sense of the sorts of affects that become negative when practiced by black subjects, such as love, empathy, and desire? Together, we will explore interventions by critical theorists of blackness, gender, and sexuality including Saidiya Hartman, Darieck Scott, Abdul JanMohamed, Christina Sharpe, Frantz Fanon, Ann Cvetkovich, Heather Love, and Lauren Berlant to assist us in confronting the sometimes perilous terrain of negative expression for black subjects. Primary texts will include work by Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Kara Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, and Richard Wright. This course will be driven by student discussion and collaboration. This course contributes to the College’s Exploring Diversity Initiative by meditating on the collision of the burden of representation with individual experiences of bad feelings.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 20
Class#: 3883
Requirements/Evaluation: one 10 pg paper, one 4 pg paper, engaged feedback process, presentations, thoughtful class participation
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
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: none
Distributions: Division I; Exploring Diversity Initiative;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AFR
Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses

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