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Dr. Wayne Rebhorn, Director 208 W. 21st St. Stop B5003, Austin, Tx 78712 • 512-471-1925

Jennifer M. Wilks

Associate Professor Ph.D., 2003, Cornell University

Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies
Jennifer M. Wilks

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Biography

Research Interests: Jennifer M. Wilks is an Assistant Professor in the English department and an affiliate of the Center for African and African American Studies and the Program in Comparative Literature. Her first book, Race, Gender, and Comparative Black Modernism, explores the gendered constructs and legacies of African American and Francophone Caribbean modernisms. Other teaching and research interests include the figure of the traveling heroine in contemporary African diasporic fiction, portrayals of the Southern U.S. in Caribbean literature, and Paris as a site of diasporic intellectual exchange and transformation.

Recent Publications:
Race, Gender, and Comparative Black Modernism: Suzanne Lacascade, Marita Bonner, Suzanne Césaire, and Dorothy West. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2008. [Link

“Writing Home: Comparative Black Modernism and Form in Jean Toomer and Aimé Césaire.” Modern Fiction Studies 51.4 (2005): 801-23.

“New Women and New Negroes: Archetypal Womanhood in Dorothy West’s The Living Is Easy.” African American Review 39.4 (2005): 569-79.

“La mulâtresse nègre: Exoticism and the Gaze in Suzanne Lacascade’s Claire-Solange, âme africaine.” MaComère 6 (2004): 57-62.

Awards and Honors: Wilks is the recipient of the 2006 Raymond Dickson Substantial Writing Component Teaching Award.

C L 323 • Danticat And Diaz

33905 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 300pm-430pm PAR 204
(also listed as AFR 372E, E 349S )
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Instructor:  Wilks, J

Unique #:  35795

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  AFR 372E, C L 323

Flags:  Cultural Diversity; Writing

Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of upper-division coursework in English.

Description: In this course we will study the work of two of the most celebrated contemporary fiction writers in the United States: Haitian American Edwidge Danticat and Dominican American Junot Díaz.  Between them Danticat (b. 1969) and Díaz (b. 1968) have won almost all of the major American cultural and literary prizes, including the MacArthur Fellowship, National Book Award, and Pulitzer Prize; and their work has been consistently published and reviewed in such high profile venues as the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times.  At the same time that their respective works speak to broader questions of American identity, however, Danticat and Díaz also write culturally specific narratives that explore the intricacies of what it means to be Haitian and Dominican, Haitian American and Dominican American, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  As a result, in addition to considering the qualities that have resulted in Danticat and Díaz’s elevation to the status of exemplary American authors, we will also examine how issues of gender, migration, history, and race factor into their work.

Texts (subject to change):

General: C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution; Frank Moya Pons, The Dominican Republic: A National History; Michelle Wucker, Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola.

Edwidge Danticat: Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994); Krik? Krak! (1995); The Farming of Bones (1998); The Dew Breaker (2004); Brother, I’m Dying (2007); Claire of the Sea Light (2013).

Junot Díaz: Drown (1996); The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007); This Is How You Lose Her (2012).

Requirements & Grading: Two short papers (3-4 pages each), 40%; Final paper (5-7 pages), 25%; Presentation, 15%; Rough draft & substantial revision (4 pages), 10%; Reading journal, 10%.

C L 323 • Caribbean Literature

33730 • Fall 2012
Meets MW 300pm-430pm PAR 103
(also listed as AFR 374F, E 360L )
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Instructor:  Wilks, J            Areas:  V / G

Unique #:  35535            Flags:  Global cultures, Writing

Semester:  Fall 2012            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  AFR 374F, C L 323            Computer Instruction:  No

Only one of the following may be counted: E 360L (Topic: Caribbean Literature), 379N (Topic: Caribbean Literature), 379S (embedded topic: Caribbean Literature).

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: Through a survey of texts from English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking islands, this course seeks to address the complexity of the Caribbean as a geographic construct, that is, the chain of islands stretching from North to South America, and as an imagined site, that is, the tropical destination marketed to North American and European tourists. To do so we will supplement our reading of literary texts from the region with the examination of travel-related texts about the region. Throughout the semester we will consider how the dynamics of slavery and colonialism differed from island to island and explore the multiple manifestations of “postcolonial” life that have emerged across the archipelago since the 1960s. The course will conclude with an examination of the migration of Caribbean authors and texts to the United States and of the resulting development of hyphenated Caribbean-American identities. All texts will be read in English, and the list of proposed texts is subject to change.

Texts: Derek Walcott, “The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory,” What the Twilight Says; Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones; Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Requirements & Grading: Two short papers (4 pages each), 40%; Final critical essay (8-10 pages), 25%; Reading journal, 15%; Rough draft, 10%, Class presentation, 10%.

C L 382 • Haiti, Hist, & Amer Imaginatn

33790 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm MEZ 1.104
(also listed as AFR 383, E 397M )
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Haiti, History, and the American Imagination

Haiti is at once one of the most dismissed and most documented countries in the Western Hemisphere.  According to conventional narratives of success and failure, Haiti is largely seen as a failed state, an underdeveloped nation that has not lived up to the promises of its 1804 Revolution.  Despite such impressions, however, the culture and history of Haiti have captured the American—used here in a hemispheric sense—imagination to a degree rivaled by no other country (with, perhaps, the exception of the United States).  Beginning with key theoretical texts and concluding with coverage of the January 2010 earthquake, this course will interrogate Caribbean, Latin American, and U.S. responses to and representations of Haiti.  What were the repercussions of the 1804 Haitian Revolution in other slaveholding societies in the Americas?  How was European Enlightenment philosophy in keeping with and antithetical to said revolution?  What do literary and cinematic representations of Haiti tell readers and viewers about the home country of the author/filmmaker?  Has Haiti, even amidst the rich particularity of its culture and repeated contestation of its nationhood, been construed as a representative American site?  These questions and others will be explored through selected readings from literature, literary theory, and political theory and viewings from documentary film and journalism.

Texts may include the following:

C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins (1938)

Joan Dayan, Haiti, History, and the Gods (1995)

Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1997)

Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (2004)

David Scott, Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (2004)

Susan Buck-Morss, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History (2009)

Leonora Sansay, Secret History; or, The Horrors of St. Domingo (1808)

Frederick Douglass, “Lecture on Haiti” (1893)

Zora Neale Hurston, Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica (1938)

Arna Bontemps, Drums at Dusk (1939)

Alejo Carpentier, El Reino de Este Mundo (The Kingdom of This World; 1949)

Edouard Glissant, Monsieur Toussaint (1961)

Aimé Césaire, La tragédie du roi Christophe (The Tragedy of King Christophe; 1963)

Madison Smart Bell, All Souls’ Rising (1995)

Derek Walcott, The Haitian Trilogy (2002)

Isabel Allende, Island Beneath the Sea (La isla bajo el mar; 2009)

Maya Deren, Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti (1985)

Press coverage of the January 2010 earthquake

C L 323 • Caribbean Literature

33625 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm PAR 103
(also listed as AFR 374F, E 360L )
show description

Only one of the following may be counted: E 360L (Topic: Caribbean Literature), 379N (Topic: Caribbean Literature), 379S (embedded topic: Caribbean Literature).

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: Through a survey of “classic” texts from English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking islands, this course seeks to address the complexity of the Caribbean as a geographic construct, that is, the chain of islands stretching from North to South America, and as an imagined site, that is, the tropical destination marketed to North American and European tourists. To do so we will supplement our reading of literary texts from the region with the examination of travel-related texts about the region. Throughout the semester we will consider how the dynamics of slavery and colonialism differed from island to island and explore the multiple manifestations of “postcolonial” life that have emerged across the archipelago since the 1960s. The course will conclude with an examination of the migration of Caribbean authors and texts to the United States and of the resulting development of hyphenated Caribbean-American identities. All texts will be read in English, and the list of proposed texts is subject to change. 

Texts: Derek Walcott, “The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory,” What the Twilight Says; Alejo Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Aimé Césaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land; Paule Marshall, The Chosen Place, the Timeless People; Edwidge Danticat, Krik? Krak!

Requirements & Grading: Two short papers (4 pages each), 40%; Final critical essay (8-10 pages), 25%; Reading journal, 15%; Rough draft, 10%, Class presentation, 10%.

C L 323 • Caribbean Literature

32947 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 103
(also listed as AFR 374F, E 360L )
show description

Cross-listed with C L 323, AFR 374F

 Only one of the following may be counted: E 360L (Topic: Caribbean Literature), 379N (Topic: Caribbean Literature), 379S (embedded topic: Caribbean Literature).

Course Description: Through a survey of texts from English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking islands, this course seeks to address the complexity of “the Caribbean” as a geographic construct, that is, the chain of islands stretching from North to South America, and as an imagined site, that is, the tropical destination marketed to North American and European tourists. To do so we will supplement our reading of literary texts from the region with the examination of travel-related texts about the region. Throughout the semester we will consider how the dynamics of slavery and colonialism differed from island to island and explore the multiple manifestations of “postcolonial” life that have emerged across the archipelago since the 1960s. The course will conclude with an examination of the migration of Caribbean authors and texts to the United States and of the resulting development of hyphenated Caribbean-American identities. All texts will be read in English, and the list of proposed texts is subject to change.

Texts: Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place; Derek Walcott, “The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory,” What the Twilight Says; Caryl Phillips, Cambridge; Patrick Chamoiseau, Solibo Magnificent; Cristina García, Monkey Hunting; Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones; Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Grading: Two short papers (4 pages each), 40%; Final critical essay (8-10 pages), 25%; Reading journal, 20%; Rough draft, 15%.

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

C L 323 • Caribbean Literature-W

33380 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 204
(also listed as AFR 374F, E 379N )
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TBD

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