Welcome to the Department of English at Rutgers University

01  MW6  CAC  11594  DEONARINE   MU-208

Blackness, Sexuality, and Power

This course offers students an introduction to several of the landmark novels, plays, short stories, essays, and collections of poetry that help to comprise the great works of African American literature. We will examine representative works from each of the major periods that follow (and include) the Harlem Renaissance and extend to the present day, paying special heed to the way our authors portrays black sexuality in order to provoke conversations about the workings of domination and power itself. This exploration will require us to read works not only in relation to theories of power, violence, and sexuality, but also in relation to the literary and socio-economic context of their productions. We will also strive to grapple with the question of why these particular works are considered with an eye to elucidate why these works are considered central to the African American literary tradition. Students will have the chance to encounter seminal texts penned by luminaries including Amiri Baraka, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Richard Wright. In addition to regular attendance and in-class participation, students will be expected to complete short reading quizzes and two take-home exams.

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 Undergraduate Students


Graduate Program in English


Statue of "Willie the Silent"