Beyond the Talking Book: Reading African American Literature in the Newspapers|
Spring 2021 not offered
AFAM 261, AMST 262|
The majority of late-nineteenth and early twentieth century African American writers, such as Frances Harper, Martin Delany, Pauline Hopkins, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Cyril Briggs, published their work in African American periodicals. In this course, we will examine the works of these canonical authors (as well as some lesser known ones) in their original publication context, the magazine archives of The Christian Recorder; The Anglo-African Magazine; The Colored American Magazine; The Crisis; The Crusader; Opportunity; and Fire!! The guiding question in our readings is this: how does our understanding of these canonical texts change when we read them in their original context--as either serial novels, or as components of a larger composite magazine, consisting of multiple different texts and images? In addition to honing students' literary close-readings skills, this course aims to teach students how to do original research and critically engage with multi-genre, mixed forms like the magazine.
Authors we will read include: Frederick Douglass, Charles Chesnutt, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. Du Bois. In order to get a better understanding of the literary conventions of the serial form, students will read one of the assigned serialized novels (Pauline Hopkins' Of One Blood) in its original installment-format, week-by-week. Reading these works serially will also enable them to play closer attention to each installment's relationship to its surrounding texts and images.
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|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AFAM-MN)(AFAM)(AMST)(ENGL)(ENGL-Literature)
Readings: (Note on Required Texts: Since we will be reading the majority of our texts in the digitized facsimile of the original African American newspapers, students will only have to buy a few texts from the bookshop)
Martin Delany, BLAKE; or THE HUTS OF AMERICA (Beacon Press edition)
Sondra K. Wilson (ed), THE OPPORTUNITY READER: STORIES, POETRY, AND ESSAYS FROM THE URBAN LEAGUE'S OPPORTUNITY MAGAZINE (Modern Library)
Sondra K. Wilson, THE CRISIS READER: STORIES, POETRY, AND ESSAYS FROM THE N.A.A.C.P.'S CRISIS MAGAZINE (Modern Library)
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Exams/Assignments: Weekly (2pp.) course blog; one in-class presentation, two medium-length essays (5-7pp.); one syllabus-entry assignment (5pp), and one longer research paper(12-15pp.).
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This course fulfills the Literatures of Difference and Literary History II requirements and contributes to the American Literature, Race & Ethnicity, and Theory and Literary Forms concentrations of the English major.
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