English 177 - Winter, 2019

Study of an Individual Author

    Topic: Zora Neale Hurston

Class Information

Instructor: Heard Mollel, Danielle
CRN: 33305
Time: W 3:10-6:00
Location: 1130 Hart


    This small seminar explores the writings and literary persona of the Harlem Renaissance era novelist, essayist, cultural theorist, ethnographer, dramatist, and (proto)feminist, Zora Neale Hurston. Despite her prolific creative and scholarly writings and her centrality as an influential figure of the New Negro movement, Hurston dropped out of public memory until her legacy and work was recovered by black feminists in the 1970s. While much scholarship has been done to place Hurston back among the most important African American writers of the twentieth century, she remains misunderstood and under-appreciated. This has much to do with her eccentric, bold personality and pubic persona, her controversial—yet prescient—perspectives on the hot-button issues of her day, her misinterpreted humor and wit, as well as her tendency toward fabricating details about her own life. Hailing from the deep south, developing professionally in New York, and retreating to the Caribbean, Hurston offers a body of work and perspective that can be read as transnational and diasporic at the same time that it allies itself with the local and regional.

    Course material touches upon and includes her published fiction, drama, ethnography, essays, and her autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road, supplemented with criticism—particularly black feminist criticism—photo essays, biography, and film documentary about the author and about Harlem, New York in the 1920s and ‘30s.


    Attendance and Participation 30%
    Presentation 30%
    Annotated Bibliography 10%
    Final Essay 30%


    PDFs on Canvas
    Dust Tracks on a Road, Zora Neale Hurston
    Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston