4 Credit Hours
In 2008, the people of the United States elected Barack Obama President. In the aftermath of Obama's victory, with our first black president ensconced in the White House, several pundits asserted that we are now living in a "post-racial era" in America. Though appealing, this flowery "post-racial" sentiment glosses over a complex history of American race relations following Reconstruction. In an effort to extend (rather than put an end to) the American discourse on race, this class will attend to the questions of how, where, and when race has and still matters in the United States. We will revisit several works of fiction and non-fiction from the Harlem Renaissance, including classic texts like Jean Toomer's CANE, James Weldon Johnson's THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN EX-COLORED MAN, and Zora Neale Hurston's MULES AND MEN. We'll also reach forward, incorporating more contemporary poets, playwrights, novelists, and cultural critics, including but not limited to Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, Henry Dumas, and Doris Betts. Finally, we'll use W.E.B. DuBois's seminal text, SOULS OF BLACK FOLK, as a primary source for the work we will do throughout the semester. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing.