Section 1: Thursday 6:30-9:10 PM

Professor: Emily Rutter

This course takes as its premise that many of the racial ideologies forged during the American eighteenth and nineteenth centuries never ended but remain deeply embedded in contemporary sociopolitical and literary discourses. Beginning with nineteenth century slave narratives and moving into twentieth- and twenty-first-century African American literary texts, we will consider the ways in which the residue of the past permeates the present. Specifically, we will focus on theories of race, nationhood, and citizenship, applying them to a wide array of African American writers, including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Claudia Rankine, and Danzy Senna. You will also play a crucial role in the ways that we examine and theorize these fields, actively engaging in class discussions, giving presentations, and producing a final seminar paper. No prior knowledge about African American literature is required; all are welcome.