Place and Belonging: 20th C. Latina/o, African American, & Caribbean Imagination--NYC|
Spring 2015 not offered
Throughout the 20th century, New York City has projected a voyeuristic allure as a site of excess and pleasure that is nevertheless "seedy," "gritty," and unabashedly segregated. Through select literary and cinematic optics of Latina/o, African American, and Caribbean writers and artists, this course will focus on memory, mimesis, and the imagination in the layered and shifting site of mid- to late-20th-century New York City--and even more specifically, of Harlem, the Bronx, the Lower East Side, and Elizabeth, NJ. We'll begin by reading select essays from HARLEM IS NOWHERE (2011), by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, and FROM BOMBA TO HIP-HOP (2000), by Juan Flores, to focus on the frictions between love of place and the struggle for artists of color--especially those from working-class backgrounds--with national narratives of nonbelonging. This juxtaposition of essays will also setup a major motif of our readings of novels, poetry, visual and cinematic arts: how thin apartment walls, cold and steep heights, and the precarious maneuverability of the City are often interrupted in these works by first-person memories and re-imaginings of overheard stories from older generations about life in the U.S. South and life in the Caribbean. "The City," then, becomes a site that mirrors these interruptions of memory, where other vistas and the past ricochet dangerously off its steely enclosures.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CBST-MN)(ENGL)(ENGL-Literature)
Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, HARLEM IS NOWHERE
Piri Thomas, DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS (set in the 1940s and 50s)
James Baldwin, ANOTHER COUNTRY (set in the late 50s)
Junot Díaz, THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO (which move from the 40s to the 90s, from the Dominican Republic to the US, not chronologically)
Juan Flores' essays will be on Moodle.
The following films will be on reserve, though it's the student's prerogative to purchase: Short Eyes (1977); El Súper (1979); Piñero (2001); Downtown 81 (1981); Radiant Child (2010); Do the Right Thing (1989); John Leguizamo's Freak (1998).
We will also read select Nuyorican poetry of the 1970s and Jean-Michel Basquiat's visual art and poetry of the 80s (to be posted on Moodle), in addition to viewing snippets from the feature films Midnight Cowboy (1969), Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), and the documentary, Public Speaking (2010).
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Students will write a few short papers and a final paper.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This course fulfills the Literatures of Difference major requirement and contributes to the American Literature and Race & Ethnicity concentrations of the English major.
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