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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2008

E 395M • Writing Across Genre and Generation: Theorizing the Body of African-American Writers

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35580 M
6:00 PM-9:00 PM
PAR 305

Course Description

What is the relationship between literary theory and the claims of African American history? How has the body of black literature been constructed--remembered and dismembered--by different generations of writers and thinkers from the "New Negro" Renaissance, through the Black Arts Movement, to the emergence of Post-Soul aesthetics and Afro-futurism? This course is an exploration of a wide range of critics' readings of American culture and Twentieth Century African American literature in particular, as well as an extensive re-reading of literary theory more broadly as paradigm and as genre. We will engage the conceptual dimensions of the intersectionality among race, gender, class and performance based theories while analyzing the textual contours and contexts--rhetorical structures, aesthetics, politics---of other related critical premises and practices, including structuralism and poststructuralism, modernism and postmodernism, post-positivist realism, feminist epistemology, critical race and racial formation theories, visual cultural studies, and queer studies. Our considerations of genre will also entail an investigation of the primarily prose-based paradigms upon which African-American literary theory and criticism has chiefly been built.


Course Readings:

Henri Louis Gates, Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African American Literary Criticism

Kimberly Crenshaw, ed., et. al, Critical Race Theory

T. Denean Sharply-Whiting and Joy James, eds, The Black Feminist Reader

Mae Henderson and E. Patrick Johnson, eds, Black Queer Studies

Angelyn Mitchell, ed., Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism

Satya Mohanty, Literary Theory and the Claims of History

Winston Napier, ed., African American Literary Theory: A Reader

Shawn Michelle Smith, American Archives: Gender, Race and Class in Visual Culture

Hortense Spillers, Black, White and In Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture

Lorenzo Thomas, Extraordinary Measures: Afrocentric Modernism and American Poetry


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