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Performance Remains: Slavery in the Black Dramatic Imagination
ENGL 369
Spring 2024
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: AFAM 369, THEA 369

As sociologist Orlando Patterson notes, "In the absence of historical records, one way to explore the inner lives of slaves is to exercise one's literary imagination" (Slavery and Social Death, 2018). Taking direction from Patterson, this course is interested in mining the literary imagination of contemporary Black playwrights who are interested in recovering, reconstructing, rewriting, repairing and, in some cases, revolting against the fragmented and muted histories of the African slave trade and the lost experiences of the Black lives therein. From Aimé Césaire's A Tempest (1969), a bold postcolonial adaptation of Shakespeare's Tempest, to Winsome Pinnock's Rockets and Blue Lights (2020), an examination of British history inspired by two 19th-century paintings by the English romantic painter J.M.W. Turner, our plays originate from the Caribbean, England, and the United States. As African diasporic texts, these plays are exercises in the dramatic power of Sankofa, a principle derived from the Akan people of Ghana, meaning that the plays become the vessels through which audiences, readers, and characters return to the past in order to better understand and move forward in the present. We will engage in a thorough exploration of form, region, dialect, adaptation, and aesthetics, among other aspects, as we align lost and documented histories with dramatic conjuring.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENGL)(ENGL-Creative W)(HRAD-MN)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on JUN-12-2024
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