English 149 - Summer Sessions I, 2017

Topics in Literature

    Topic: 21st Century African American Literature and Film

Class Information

Instructor: Heard Mollel, Danielle
CRN: 53729
Time: MW 2:10-4:40
Location: 192 Young


    21st Century African American Literature and Film

    In this course we will examine poetry, plays, long and short fiction, graphic novels, and film produced by some of the most celebrated black writers and filmmakers in the U.S. and Canada since the dawn of the new millennium. Twenty-first century African American writers and filmmakers tend to address particular questions regarding what it means to be black for a generation whose lives have been bookended by the national Civil Rights Movement on one side and the first black presidency on the other. Blackness--complicated by its intersections with class, sexuality, gender, contemporary politics, postmodern culture, popular and historical representations of racial others, the current standards of "political correctness," and the advent of "multiculturalism--is the focal point around which black artists of today experiment. Much of what we will read in this course tends toward the satirical, and many of the course texts cover aesthetic movements like Afrofuturism, Afrosurrealism, magical realism, sci-fi and horror, and other experimental aesthetics that have either begun or gained new currency since 2000. You can expect to read/view works by Percival Everett, Suzan-Lori Parks, Tracy K. Smith, Mat Johnson, Danzy Senna, Spike Lee, Nalo Hopkinson, Claudia Rankine, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, Nathaniel Mackey, Haryette Mullen, Terrence Hayes, Thomas Glave, and DJ Spooky. NB: If you have taken ENL 181B, this course provides a great opportunity to continue your study of African American literature into the 21st century; however, this course welcomes everyone to enroll.


    2 short essays, 40%
    group presentation, 15%
    midterm exam, 15%
    final exam 15%
    participation and attendance 15%


    Topdog/Underdog, Suzan-Lori Parks
    Erasure, Percival Everett
    Ingognegro, Mat Johnson
    Third Girl from the Left, Martha Southgate
    PDFs of shorter pieces on Canvas