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ENGL 245
Blackness and Visual Expression Spring 2021
Division I

Class Details

This course will examine how blackness has been represented in visual media. Beginning with 19th century examples, we will examine representations associated with slavery and minstrelsy. In particular, we will consider paintings by artists such as Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, and Henry O. Tanner, alongside racial representations in popular media, such as newspaper editorial cartoons and book illustrations. Moving across the range of the 20th century, we will examine various visual media, including painting, photography, theater, costume design, fashion, advertising, and film. Films such as Cabin in the Sky, Stormy Weather, Bingo Long’s All Stars, Shaft, and Harlem Nights, as well as recent movies, including The Black Panther and Get Out exemplify various imaginative revisions of racial conventions. Students will be expected to participate actively in the classroom and in group projects. Some of this material will be covered by student presentations, and all students will be expected to contribute to our discussions of the various examples we bring before us. Texts for the course will represent several disciplines and approaches to writing about race and culture. The writing for the course will be a journal and a 10-page final paper.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 15
Class#: 5193
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participation in group projects, journal, and final 10-page paper
Prerequisites: a 100-level English course, or a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in English Literature or a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate
Enrollment Preferences: majors and prospective majors
Distributions: Division I
Attributes: ENGL 200-level Gateway Courses

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