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Check out the following three new courses added to the curriculum this fall. Dr. Maria Seger, Assistant Professor of English has developed the content from her Early and nineteenth-century American literature, African American literature, UL ethnic literatures, critical race and ethnic studies.
English 211: Thematic Approaches to Literature
The Women of the Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance has been a much-studied era of African American culture, but significantly less attention has been paid to black women’s vital contribution to this movement. Across the 1920s and 1930s, black women in literature, art, music, and dance furthered the development of this African American cultural tradition in the midst of the Great Migration and Jim Crow. Such women invented new forms of black artistic expression, blending pan-African elements, high and low cultures, and experimental modernist forms, in order to reject pervasive racism and to promote progressive politics, exploring the experience of and imagining a future for black women in the United States in particular. In this course, we’ll study these women’s works in conversation, including the work of authors such as Jessie Redmon Fauset, Angelina Weld Grimké, Zora Neale Hurston, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and Nella Larsen; artists such as Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Lois Mailou Jones, and Augusta Savage; and musicians such as Billie Holiday, Ma Rainey, and Bessie Smith.
English 435G: American Realism and Naturalism
Justice and Violence in the Gilded Age
This seminar will survey realist and naturalist American fiction of the Gilded Age, a period termed as such to capture how rapid economic expansion in the United States masked increasing inequality. As industrialization, westward imperialism, Jim Crow, and immigration intensified as the nineteenth century drew to a close, concentrations of economic, social, and political power necessitated new genres of literary fiction. Realists and naturalists such as Charles Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, Theodore Dreiser, William Dean Howells, Frank Norris, Sui Sin Far, and Mark Twain attempted to unmask this increasing inequality by attending to the ordinary, highlighting the tragic injustices and violences of everyday life. This seminar will introduce a variety of methodological approaches to the field of American literary and cultural studies, including methods from critical race and ethnic studies, gender studies, genre studies, and class and labor studies.
English 433G: Approaches to African American Literature
The Theories and Poetics of Black Studies
This seminar will serve as a site for sustained engagement with the theories and poetics of black studies, a discipline invested in tracing blackness and anti-blackness across the African diaspora in order to imagine a means of radical abolition and black liberation. In this course, we’ll investigate the politics and aesthetics of some of the major theoretical texts in black studies published across the last decade, sketching the evolution of key questions, the formation of new archives, and the invention of fresh methods and styles for scholarly work in the field. Through discussion of such texts as Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments (2019), Fred Moten’s consent not to be a single being trilogy (2017–18), Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake (2016), and Alex Weheliye’s Habeas Viscus (2014), we’ll consider the past, present, and future of black studies as a discipline and an artform. As a result, this seminar will introduce a variety of methodological approaches to the field of black studies, including those from Afro-pessimism, assemblage theory, biopolitical theory, black feminism, black Marxism, critical race theory, and queer of color critique.