Jan 27, 2023  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog

ENG 329-01 - Studies in African American Literature

4 credits (Fall)
“Bodyminds Reimagined.” In an interview in the African-American Review, speculative fiction writer Nalo Hopkinson asserts that “science fiction has always been a subversive literature” because it forces the reader to “think twice and thrice about a whole bunch of things in relation to each other: sexuality, race, class, color, history.” Similarly, in her new book Bodyminds Reimagined, Sami Schalk “traces how black women’s speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds-the intertwinement of the mental and the physical-in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability.” Using these frameworks as entry points, we will explore the following questions: is there a distinct tradition of Black speculative fiction? How might a culture that has, in Hopkinson’s words, “been on the receiving end of the colonization glorified in some science fiction” negotiate and politicize the genre? Does Black speculative fiction (defined here to encompass science fiction, fantasy, cyberpunk, Afro-futurism etc.) cause one, in fact, “to think twice and thrice” about race, class, and sexuality? Finally, does the tradition challenge our basic assumptions of identity, or does it ultimately work to normalize them? We will examine how black writers, filmmakers and musicians have used speculative methods to defamiliarize our assumptions regarding “familiar” social issues such as race, class, gender, and disability. 

Prerequisite: ENG 225 , ENG 227 , ENG 228 , ENG 229 , ENG 231 , ENG 232 , or ENG 273 .
Note: Plus-2 option available.
Instructor: Lavan