English 175 - Winter, 2015

American Literary Humor

    Topic: African American Satire

Class Information

Instructor: Heard Mollel, Danielle
CRN: 93570
Time: TR 10:30-11:50
Location: 147 Olson


    This course examines the rich tradition of African American satire, from the folktales of African Slaves, to the political speeches of black abolitionists, to some of the first fictional texts written by African Americans in the ninetieth century, to explicit formal engagements with satire as a genre by black writers in the twentieth century, to the pervasive interest in the satirical by experimental black poets, novelists, and playwrights after the Civil Rights Movement and into the twenty-first century. This survey of African American satire will include a close study of the complicated relationship African Americans have had with humor and comedy due to the fine line between racist representation and transformative critique that black entertainers and artists have historically had to navigate vis � vis multiracial American culture and beyond.

    Texts include works by the following authors: Sojourner Truth, Frances E. W. Harper, Charles Chesnutt, George Schuyler, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston, Ishmael Reed, William Melvin Kelley, Ralph Ellison, Suzan-Lori Parks, Colson Whitehead, Tana Hargest, Paul Beatty, Danzy Senna, etc.


    Attendance and Participation 25%
    Group Presentation 20%
    Midterm Essay 25%
    Final Essay 30%


    Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
    George Schuyler, Black No More
    George C. Wolfe, The Colored Museum
    Paul Beatty, The White Boy Shuffle
    Ishmael Reed, Japanese by Spring
    PDFs of other materials