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Spring 2016 Undergraduate English Courses: African-American, Ethnic American or Global Anglophone

358:379 Black Women Writers

01  M 7,8  D/C  17372   BUSIA   RAB-204

Black Women Writers: The Making of Tradition

The objective of this course is to introduce the ways in which Black women writers in the USA, over the klast century and a half have, negotiated being "Africans" in the New World. Whether as "Negroes", "Colored People", "Blacks" or "African Americans", these women developed strategies of resistance and survival that is reflected in their works and arguably create a tradition of writing that survives. With origins in spirituals and sacred writing, folk tales and the spoken word, their writings teach us the ways in which women writers as cultural workers respond to the circumstances of being Black in the "New World" of the US. By looking at the continuing legacy of different forms of writing including long and short fiction, sacred and secular life writings, drama, poetry and song we will trace how they answered the question posed by Countee Cullen at the beginning of the twentieth century on what it means "to make a poet black, and bid [her] sing".

The writings to be studied will span the century and a half from circa 1865-2015 and include will include journals short stories and essays novels plays and selected poems and songs from throughout the three centuries.

The class will make use of documentary film, audio and video recordings of the writers, and a range of cultural forms from recipes and quilts to music, dance and sculpture to place the writers in the contexts of their times, and to illuminate the cultural contexts of their lives.

Texts to be considered my include -
From The Nineteenth Century:
Charlotte Forten's Journal; Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Harriet Wilson, Our Nig; Frances E.W.Harper Selected Essays

From The Twentieth Century:
Toi Derricote, The Black Notebooks; Charlayne Hunter-Gault, In My Place; Paule Marshall, Praisesong for the Widow; Zora Neale Hurston Selected Essays and Stories

From The Twenty-first Century
Claudia Rankine, Citizen; Tracy Smith, Ordinary Light; Toni Morrison, A Mercy; Ntozake Shange , Lost in Language and Sound;