African American Literature from 1840


Description: Tracing African American literature from slave narrative to modern science fiction, this course grapples with the ways authors from the 1840s until the present day have engaged with the construct of race. Highlighting both key text and lesser known writings, we will look at the ways in which African American authors respond to each other in a web of “call and response” while building narratives of resistance to racism and oppression.

Facilitated by Dr. Erika McCombs, each class will open with an introduction into the historic, literary, and political concerns of the text followed by a discussion of the work itself. In order to allow participants to follow a comfortable reading schedule, the course will interchange novels and short stories. Many of the course’s texts are also available on audiobook. Authors will include Frederick Douglass, Charles Chesnutt, Margaret Walker, Toni Morrison, and Octavia Butler among others.

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