Law, Race, and Literature: An Introduction to Critical Race Theory|
Fall 2008 not offered
AMST 291, AFAM 291|
Law and literature both inhabit the realm of interpretation, rhetoric, form, ethics, and epistemology; they mediate our relationship to society and shape how we imagine the world and ourselves. This course introduces critical race theory, an emerging movement in critical legal studies led by African American, Latino, and Asian American legal scholars. How does the law inform how we talk about and imagine race? Informed by literary studies, postmodernism, feminism, and continental political philosophy, this eclectic group of scholars and practitioners continues the civil rights tradition by challenging set liberal premises and racial orthodoxies to open up new ways of thinking about race and racism. Through careful close reading and writing assignments, the class will begin to explore a critique of liberalism, the legal construction of whiteness, how racism pervades civil institutions, and the complex, oftentimes incommensurate, intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. The class will then apply these critical skills in analysis of four literary works and the issues they raise about race, desire, and the law.
Ethical Reasoning, Intercultural Literacy
Explores how law legislates racial identies and relationships.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Student Option|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Crenshaw et al., Eds., CRITICAL RACE THEORY: KEY WRITINGS
Morrison, PLAYING IN THE DARK
Chesnutt, MARROW OF TRADITION
Hwang, M BUTTERFLY
Melville, BENITO CERENO
Okada, NO-NO BOY
Reader available at PIP
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Students will hand in a total of four 1-page single-spaced papers on the class readings for the semester, due in person or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 12 noon the day the readings are scheduled. These are not summaries but explorations of implications of your close reading of and across texts. I will call on you that day. These short inquiry papers and active listening and class participation will count as 1/3 your grade. The second third of your grade will be based on your midterm consisting of short essays and a section of 10 identifications. The final third consists of short essays (3pp) and a brief final paper (5 pp).
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
5 groups of 3 students to present on the 5 literary/dramatic texts. The group will prepare, distribute and present a 4-page paper and a set of questions to the rest of the class. These students will be exempt from 3 inquiry papers. This course counts towards the English department's theory requirement.
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