Dr. Godfrey 3 credits
Through an intensive reading of fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction by black women, this course highlights black women writers’ attempts to negotiate the sometimes competing political demands of being black and being a woman in America. We will begin with non-fiction works that set this literature in context by exploring the legacy of slavery and segregation on black women’s lives, and by exploring the failures of sociology, mainstream feminism, and black liberation movements to account for black women’s experiences. We will then examine late nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century texts that do account for this experience, focusing in particular on how black women’s writing has responded to, challenged, and reshaped discourses of respectability, domesticity, feminism, black power, and post-racialism. Readings will include works by Ida B. Wells, Anna Julia Cooper, Pauline Hopkins, Jessie Fauset, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ann Petry, Lorraine Hansberry, Paule Marshall, Nikki Giovanni, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Danzy Senna, and Issa Rae.
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