Law, Race, and Literature: An Introduction to Critical Race Theory|
Spring 2009 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
THEORY: THE CUTTING EDGE, 2nd edition, 2000
Chesnutt, MARROW OF TRADITION
Hwang, M BUTTERFLY
Melville, BENITO CERENO
supplementary reader may include works by Cornell West, Paul Gilroy, Patricia Williams
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Students will hand in six 1 page single-space papers on the class readings. These short exploratory papers will count as a third of the grade. The second third of the grade will be based on a final that consists of a brief final paper (5 pages), short essays, and a section of 10 identifications. The final third of the grade will be based on active listening and class participation. Groups of 3 students will present on the five literary/dramatic texts. The group will prepare and distribute a 4-page paper and a set of questions to the rest of the class. These students will be exempt from 3 inquiry papers.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Prerequisites: At least one class in American history or literature or Philosophy is suggested.
This course meets the English Department's Theory and Literature of Difference requirement for the English major.
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