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New Classes in Black Studies

Fall 2022

ENGL 111 Diversity, Pluralism, and Power in American Literature and Culture: Expulsion & the Housing Crisis – Prof. Beth McCoy

From Mr. Herbert Gettridge’s experiences after Hurricane Katrina and Shakespeare's King Lear, to Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower and Toni Morrison’s A Mercy we will accumulate texts circulating around the following question: Can literature and other art forms do anything for thinkING about that which seemed to burst forth in 2008 as what has been variously termed the ‘global financial crisis,’ ‘foreclosure* crisis,’ ‘subprime mortgage crisis,’ or ‘housing crisis?’” Get ready for a lot of churn: the currents of the Atlantic slave trade, the whorls and culs-de-sac of abandoned developments, and money laundering. Central course concepts will include trust, moral hazard, good faith, toxicity, effigy, and foreclosure (this last applies to narrative/storytelling, too). This course counts for the Recent requirement in the English major and DEI. It is also appropriate for Urban Studies students. Note: this will be a carefully scaffolded self-assessed class.

ENGL 114 Sustainability & Literature: Black Ecopoetics – Prof. Lytton Smith

Ecopoetry is more than poetry about or inspired by nature: ecopoems are interested in ecologies and systems, in environments and structures of power. In this course, as the world reckons with the rapidly accelerating effects of man-made climate change, we’ll explore both the achievements and the tragedies of ecopoems that also explore Black experience in the United States and beyond. We’ll connect those poems to the social and natural ecologies around us, reflecting on our place in efforts to re-balance the world through both anti-racism and sustainable practices.

ENGL 329: Black Apocalyptic Fiction – Prof. Beth McCoy

From Rivers Solomon to Mat Johnson, from Octavia Butler to Victor LaValle, we’ll get to thinkING about apocalypse, messianism, books, and the aftermath of revelation. Be prepared for collaborative work! Guest appearance by The Day After Tomorrow or maybe Jaws. Maybe both! Note: this will be a carefully scaffolded self-assessed class.

ENGL 458 Major Authors: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Prof. Ola Nwabara

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is notably one of the leading novelists of contemporary literature in the 21st century. With three novels, a collection of short stories, a film based on a novel, many short stories, manifestos, lectures, interviews, and scholarly article, Adichie is also a leading voice when it comes to the representation of African and Black cultures and people globally. This course will engage many of these works, in conversation with Adichie’s position as an author critical to the transition between 20th and 21st century African literature, in order to consider her impact on African literature, and on Black and African communities globally. Some of the titles include: Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, The Thing Around Your Neck, Americanah, We Should All be Feminists, and Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.

FMST 369 Connections in Film: Black Queer Cinema – Prof. Mark Broomfield

This course explores black LGBTQ representation in film. Focusing on black queer performance across many genres, including documentaries, independent film, Hollywood and New Queer Cinema, students will examine and gain an aesthetic appreciation for the historical and cultural context of black queer cinema for the 20th and 21st century.

INTD 105-04 Writing Seminar: African Lives in Short – Prof. Ola Nwabara, ONLINE COURSE

This course uses African short stories to examine the lives, experiences, and identities of global African people encapsulated in memories, events, or snippets in time. The stories are read in conversation with the authors (e.g. interviews, speeches, talks) as well as other supplemental literature (e.g. criticisms, histories, African identities and knowledge systems) in order to ground the stories in local and global contexts. Students will use this material to develop skills to read, critique, analyze and write effectively about the various narratives.

INTD 105-15 Writing Seminar: The 1619 Project – Prof. Maria Lima

Our class takes on The New York Times challenge to reframe American history, to consider the possibility that the origin of this country can be traced to 1619, the year that marks the arrival of the first enslaved Africans (from the land that would become Angola) to the land that would become the United States in all its defining contradictions. Out of slavery, according to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional. To name only a few: its economic might; its industrial power; its electoral system, diet and popular music; the inequities of its public health and education; its income inequality; systemic racism; its legal system and the endemic racial fears and hatreds that continue to plague the nation to this day. The American Documents set for the world a blueprint for freedom and equality despite the nation's history of widespread injustice. The seeds for all that were planted long before the country's official birth date, in 1776, when the men known as our founders formally declared independence from Britain. We'll spend the semester reading and writing about The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, and also focusing on the power of literature to help reframe American history.