Gender and Sexuality in the Neo-slave Narrative
Division I; Writing-Intensive; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Cross-listed as WGSS218 / AFR218 / AMST218 / ENGL218
Hortense Spillers has noted that ex-slave Harriet Jacobs, “between the lines of her narrative, demarcates a sexuality that is neuterbound” and we live with the aftermath of her observation. “Ungendering,” one of the transformations undergone by bodies subjected to the Middle Passage, is one of the keywords that forms the foundation for a conversation about slavery, gender, and sexuality. Throughout this course we will wrestle with the questions: How does the designation “slave” rupture, reify, or expand our understandings of sexuality and gender? What conditions have necessitated the neo-slave narrative form? Texts include: slave narratives and neo-slave narratives in the forms of novels such as Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred, Jewelle Gomez’s Gilda Stories, visual art such as Kerry James Marshall’s “Heirlooms and Accessories” and Glenn Ligon’s “Runaways”, and film such as Jordan Peele’s Get Out.
The Class: Type: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly keyword responses, one presentation, four papers totaling about 20 pp. including an engaged feedback process, 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: first- and second-year students, and English majors who have yet to take a Gateway course
Distributions: Division I; Writing-Intensive; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST, AFR or WGSS WI: Students write 4 papers totaling at least 20 pages over the course of the semester including 1 critical revision. DPE: This course examines the work of African American writers and artists engaged with the archival silences imposed by the power dynamics of racial hierarchy which constrained the birth of African American literature (the slave narrative). In particular, we examine the meaningful/willful/and censorial omissions that shape the treatment of gender and sexuality in these texts.
Attributes: ENGL 200-level Gateway Courses; ENGL Literary Histories C;
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- ENGL 218 - 01 (S) SEM Gender Sexuality Neoslave Narr