Sep 21, 2020  
2015-2016 Academic Catalog 
2015-2016 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENG 329-01 - Studies in African American Literature

4 credits (Fall)
This course examines how black women’s literature and feminist scholarship illuminates the impasse between how black women see themselves and how they are seen. Bearers of the burden of representation and experts in the politics of respectability, black women writers and black feminist critics often address-either implicitly or explicitly-the stereotypical portrayals of black womanhood that misrecognize black women or render them invisible. To better grasp the applicability of this longstanding history within a contemporary context, we will read Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, alongside representative reviews of the novel and film, to reveal the troping of black women’s bodies, voices, and stories as a mechanism for advancing social fantasies of racial harmony. Specifically, we will: examine how Stockett, a white woman, represents black women, their voices and thoughts; delineate how her portrayals compare to the black female protagonists figured in texts by black women writers; and distinguish between how Skeeter views “the help” and how black women literary scholars, historians, and cultural critics view themselves and the black women they study.

Prerequisite: ENG 225 , ENG 227 , ENG 228 , ENG 229 , ENG 231 , ENG 232 , or ENG 273  
Instructor: Benjamin