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LITERATURE

LIT-622
Advanced Studies in Contemporary Literature (3)

Course Level: Graduate

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. Advanced topics in fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction of all national traditions of the past forty years, with emphasis on research. Meets with LIT-422. Usually offered every year.

LIT-622
001
LITERATURE
SPRING 2014

Course Level: Graduate

Advanced Studies in Contemporary Literature (3)

Black to the Future

From Sun Ra to Thomas Sayers Ellis, from Erykah Badu to Jonelle Monae, from Percival Everett to Harryette Mullen, African American artists and intellectuals are developing remarkably innovative ways to imagine the future of Black identity. This course examines the innovative formal techniques, complicated political stakes, and community-building practices that characterize three broad and provocative conceptualizations of the future of blackness: Afro-futurism, post-soul, and post-black. The class interrogates these categories in order to understand the place of blackness as an identity and a heritage, and the role of the ideals of the radicals of the 1960s in the sometimes far-out scenarios of social transformation and personal transcendence offered by contemporary African American artists. Writers and artists include Sun-Ra, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Percival Everett, Harryette Mullen, Claudia Rankine, Colson Whitehead, Sanford Biggers, Erykah Badu, and Suzan-Lori Parks, among others. Meets with LIT-422 001.

LIT-622
001
LITERATURE
FALL 2014

Course Level: Graduate

Advanced Studies in Contemporary Literature (3)

The Dark Room Collective

What does freedom look like for contemporary African American artists and intellectuals? To answer this question, this course explores the literary practices and social fortunes of a quasi-separatist African American writers' group called the Dark Room Collective, whose alumni have become some of the most successful contemporary literati of any race, including Pulitzer-prize winners, university professors, and a number of prestigious editors, critics, and literary fellowship recipients. The course examines how these artists achieved their stature by offering innovative practices of autobiographical self-reflection, nostalgic and anti-nostalgic memory, and musically-inflected formal innovation that complicate and reconceive of African American identity. The class investigates whether or not and how much these innovative representations of blackness constitute the artistic freedom these writers claim them to be, and whether they produce the social freedom they suggest. In other words, considering the extent to which their success constitutes proof of their claims to freedom from the limitations of race politics. Readings include some of the best reviewed and most celebrated literature of the twenty-first century by Thomas Sayers Ellis, Sharan Strange, Major Jackson, Kevin Young, and Natasha Trethewey, among others. Meets with LIT-422 001.