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Edmund T. Gordon, Chair 2109 San Jacinto Blvd , Mailcode E3400, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4362

Jennifer M. Wilks

Associate Professor Ph.D., 2003, Cornell University

Associate Professor of English
Jennifer M. Wilks

Contact

Biography

Jennifer M. Wilks is an associate professor of English, African and African American Studies, and Comparative Literature. She is the author of Race, Gender, and Comparative Black Modernism (Louisiana State University Press, 2008), and her essays have appeared in African American Review, Callaloo, and Modern Fiction Studies.  Other teaching and research interests include Paris as a site of diasporic intellectual exchange, the transposition of the Carmen figure to African diasporic contexts, and travel narratives by African American and Caribbean writers.

Interests

African American Literature; African Diaspora Studies; Caribbean Literature; Women and Gender Studies

AFR 317F • African American Lit And Cul

30465 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm MEZ 1.212
(also listed as E 314V )
show description

Instructor:  Wilks, J

Unique #:  35110

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  AFR 317F

Flags:  Cultural Diversity; Writing

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: This course will survey the importance of place and community in African American literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. We will consider how the community in which characters live or move—from neighborhood to island—influences their conceptions of race, gender, and identity. As this is a writing-intensive course, we will pay particular attention to the form as well as the content of our texts. Discussion will also play an integral role in the course.

Texts: Readings may include the following: Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son; Toni Morrison, Sula; Colson Whitehead, Zone One.

Requirements & Grading: Two short papers (4 pages each): 40%; Final critical essay (5-7 pages): 25%; Rough draft (4 pages): 10%; Presentation: 10%; Reading responses and class participation: 15%.

Attendance is mandatory. More than three unexcused absences will result in a significant reduction of your grade.

AFR 372E • Danticat And Diaz

30545 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 300pm-430pm PAR 204
(also listed as C L 323, 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%.

AFR 372E • Afr Am Lit Snc Harlem Renais

30685 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 310
(also listed as E 376S )
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Instructor:  Wilks, J

Unique #:  36195

Semester:  Spring 2014

Cross-lists:  AFR 372E

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

Description: Using texts drawn from poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction, this course will examine the development of African American literature in the early-twenty-first century. Our primary focus will be themes of post-blackness and post-raciality. We will also consider how the international geographies of particular texts expand and complicate the category of “African American.”

Texts: Danielle Evans, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self; Percival Everett, Erasure; Mat Johnson, Pym; Tayari Jones, Leaving Atlanta; Colson Whitehead, Zone One.

Kenneth Warren, What Was African American Literature?

Touré, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?

Requirements & Grading: Peer review/Preliminary draft of first short paper (4 pages), 10%; Two short papers (4 pages each), 40%; Final critical essay (6-7 pages), 35%; Reading responses, 15%.

AFR 317F • African American Lit And Cul

30310 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 304
(also listed as E 314V )
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Instructor:  Wilks, J            Areas:  -- / A

Unique #:  35035            Flags:  Cultural diversity, Writing

Semester:  Fall 2013            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  AFR 317F            Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: This course will survey the importance of place and community in African American literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. We will consider how the community in which characters live or move—from neighborhood to island—influences their conceptions of race, gender, and identity. As this is a writing-intensive course, we will pay particular attention to the form as well as the content of our texts. Discussion will also play an integral role in the course.

Texts: Readings may include the following: Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son; Toni Morrison, Sula; Colson Whitehead, Zone One.

Requirements & Grading: Two short papers (4 pages each): 40%; Final critical essay (5-7 pages): 25%; Rough draft (4 pages): 10%; Presentation: 10%; Reading responses and class participation: 15%.

Attendance is mandatory. More than three unexcused absences will result in a significant reduction of your grade.

AFR 374F • Harlem Renaissance

30490 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 206
(also listed as E 376M )
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Instructor:  Wilks, J            Areas:  II / G

Unique #:  35960            Flags:  Cultural Diversity, Writing

Semester:  Fall 2013            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  AFR 374F            Computer Instruction:  No

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

Description: Long before the late-twentieth century arrival of Starbucks and Clintons, there was another Harlem Renaissance, a time during the 1920s and 1930s when African American artistic and cultural life flourished with Harlem as its epicenter. In this course we will draw upon nonfiction, fiction, and poetry not only to remember the Renaissance as traditionally portrayed in literary history, but also to re-member the movement, to piece together our own impressions of its people, places, and passions. Who were the leading figures of the Renaissance? What are the forgotten but no less important names? How did the movement’s influence extend beyond the confines of upper Manhattan? In addition to these questions, we will also address how literary production complemented and contrasted with the politics, music, and fine art of the period. Our ultimate goal is not only to emerge with a broader picture of the Harlem Renaissance, but also to understand the period’s significance as a pivotal transition in African American literary expression, one bridging the gap between Reconstruction literature of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and urban literature of the mid-twentieth century.

Texts: Nella Larsen, Passing; George Samuel Schuyler, Black No More; Jean Toomer, Cane; Venetria Patton and Maureen Honey, Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology.

Requirements & Grading: Two short papers (4 pages each), 40%; Final critical essay (5-7 pages), 35%; Reading responses, 15%; Rough draft of first short paper (4 pages), 10%.

Attendance is mandatory. More than three unexcused absences will result in a significant reduction of your grade.

AFR 374F • Caribbean Literature

30405 • Fall 2012
Meets MW 300pm-430pm PAR 103
(also listed as C L 323, E 360L )
show description

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%.

AFR 374F • Afr Am Lit Since Harlem Renais

30555 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am PAR 304
(also listed as E 376S )
show description

Instructor:  Wilks, J            Areas:  II / G

Unique #:  35490            Flags:  Cultural diversity; Writing

Semester:  Spring 2012            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  AFR 374F            Computer Instruction:  n/a

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

Description: Using texts drawn from poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction, this course will examine the development of African American literature in the early-twenty-first century. Our primary focus will be themes of post-blackness and post-raciality. We will also consider how the international geographies of particular texts expand and complicate the category of “African American.” 

Texts: Danielle Evans, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self; Percival Everett, Erasure; Mat Johnson, Pym; Danzy Senna, You Are Free; Martha Southgate, The Taste of Salt; Colson Whitehead, Apex Hides the Hurt.

Kenneth Warren, What Was African American Literature?

Touré, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?

Requirements & Grading: Peer review/Preliminary draft of first short paper (4 pages), 10%; Two short papers (4 pages each), 40%; Final critical essay (6-7 pages), 35%; Reading responses, 15%.

Attendance is mandatory.  More than three unexcused absences will result in a significant reduction of your grade.

AFR 383 • Haiti, Hist, & Amer Imaginatn

30595 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm MEZ 1.104
(also listed as C L 382, 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

AFR 374F • Caribbean Literature

30330 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm PAR 103
(also listed as C L 323, 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%.

AFR 317F • African American Lit And Cul

35275 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 308
(also listed as E 314V )
show description

Cross-listed with AFR 317F

Course Description: This course will survey the importance of place and community in African American literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. We will consider how the community in which characters live or move—from neighborhood to island—influences their conceptions of race, gender, and identity. As this is a writing-intensive course, we will pay particular attention to the style as well as the content of our texts. Discussion will also play an integral role in the course.

Texts: Readings may include the following: Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son; Toni Morrison, Sula; Colson Whitehead, Apex Hides the Hurt.

Grading: Three short papers (4 pages each): 45%; Final critical essay (5-7 pages): 25%; Rough draft (4 pages): 15%; Reading responses and class participation: 15%. Attendance is mandatory. More than three unexcused absences will result in a significant reduction of your grade.

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

AFR 374F • Caribbean Literature

35438 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 103
(also listed as C L 323, 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.

AFR 374F • Harlem Renaissance-W

35530 • Spring 2010
Meets MW 330pm-500pm CAL 200
(also listed as E 376M )
show description

 

E376M/AFR 374: The Harlem Renaissance

  Spring 2010   Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Wilks  
  MWF: Please see course catalog   Office: PAR 108  
  CAL: Please see course catalog   Office hours: Available upon request  

Course Description

Long before the late-twentieth century arrival of Starbucks and Clintons, there was another Harlem Renaissance, a time during the 1920s and 1930s when African American artistic and cultural life flourished with Harlem as its epicenter.  In this course we will draw upon nonfiction, fiction, and poetry not only to remember the Renaissance as traditionally portrayed in literary history, but also to re-member the movement, to piece together our own impressions of its people, places, and passions.  Who were the leading figures of the Renaissance?  What are the forgotten but no less important names?  How did the movement’s influence extend beyond the confines of upper Manhattan?  In addition to these questions, we will also address how literary production complemented and contrasted with the politics, music, and fine art of the period.  Our ultimate goal is not only to emerge with a broader picture of the Harlem Renaissance, but also to understand the period’s significance as a pivotal transition in African American literary expression, one bridging the gap between Reconstruction literature of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and urban literature of the mid-twentieth century.

Texts

Nella Larsen, Passing
George Samuel Schuyler, Black No More
Jean Toomer, Cane
Venetria Patton and Maureen Honey, Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology (DT)

Grading

 

  Two short papers (4 pages each) 40%
  Final critical essay (5-7 pages) 35%
  Reading responses 15%
  Rough draft (4 pages) 10%

Plus/minus grading will be used. The grading scale can be found on the course Blackboard site.

University Policy Notes

* Academic Integrity

“A fundamental principle for any educational institution, academic integrity is highly valued and seriously regarded at The University of Texas at Austin, as emphasized in the standards of conduct. More specifically, you and other students are expected to ‘maintain absolute integrity and a high standard of individual honor in scholastic work’ undertaken at the University (Sec. 11-801, Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities). This is a very basic expectation that is further reinforced by the University's Honor Code. At a minimum, you should complete any assignments, exams, and other scholastic endeavors with the utmost honesty, which requires you to:

  • acknowledge the contributions of other sources to your scholastic efforts;
  • complete your assignments independently unless expressly authorized to seek or obtain assistance in preparing them;ollow instructions for assignments and exams, and observe the standards of your academic discipline; and
  • avoid engaging in any form of academic dishonesty on behalf of yourself or another student.”

This passage quoted from and additional information available at http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sjs/acint_student.php

* Disabilities

Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, by calling 471-6259.

* Religious holidays

A student who misses an examination, work assignment, or other project due to the observance of a religious holy day will be given an opportunity to complete the work missed within a reasonable time after the absence, provided that he or she has properly notified the instructor. It is the policy of the University of Texas at Austin that the student must notify the instructor at least 14 days prior to the classes scheduled on dates he or she will be absent to observe a religious holy day. For religious holy days that fall within the first two weeks of the semester, the notice should be given on the first day of the semester. The student will not be penalized for these excused absences, but the instructor may appropriately respond if the student fails to complete satisfactorily the missed assignment or examination within a reasonable time after the excused absence.

For more information, please download the full syllabus.

AFR 374F • Caribbean Literature-W

35820 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 204
(also listed as C L 323, E 379N )
show description

TBD

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