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

Spring 2008

E 376M • Writing Slavery

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35323 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
PAR 214

Course Description

This course specifically examines a category of contemporary African American fiction known as the "neo-narrative." These works are written by authors who hearken to the slavery past as a context for positing a revisionist recovery through the fictive process. The course examines intersections between select contemporary fiction and visitations to slavery museums and heritage sites by a new generation of cultural tourist. If Dean MacCannell (The Tourist, 1999) has unveiled the modernist penchant for escape and/or leisure through tourism, then the search for disclosure and recovery also spawned the new cultural tourist or sojourner, who seeks knowledge, healing, and contemplation at slavery museums and heritage sites. Ironically, archival records indicate that the neo narrative, aka historical slavery fiction, tends to appropriate the very (meta)narrative strategies in which the new cultural tourism is grounded. Ultimately, the course seeks to discover whether (or how) literature might be an appropriate venue for recovering an elusive slave subject.

Grading Policy

Course Requirements:
20%: Critical essay I (4-5 pages, ds)
20%: Critical essay II (4-5 pages; ds)
20%: Midterm exam
20%: Group presentations/reading quizzes/class participation
20%: Final exam

Attendance: Regular attendance is required. More than four absences will be sufficient grounds for failure in the course. The four allowed absences will include illness, deaths of relatives, and other emergencies. If you are more than five minutes late or leave before class ends (without permission), you will be counted absent for that class. You are responsible for all work covered in your absence.


Suzan-Lori Parks, The America Play
Charles Johnson, Middle Passage
Fred D'Aguair, Feeding the Ghosts
Caryl Phillips, Cambridge
Sherley Ann Williams, Dessa Rose
E.P. Jones, The Known World
Toni Morrison, The Margaret Garner Opera libretto
Course pack, Speedway on Dobie


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