Introduction to the study of African American Literature, with focus on major writers such as Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison. For example: Prof. H. Young, Contemporary African American Literature and Culture This class introduces students to contemporary African American literature, looking at the diversity of literary production that falls under the category of black. What does it mean to be black and how does the literature we read explode any preconceptions we might have about its various meanings in different locations and time periods? Attention will be paid to topics such as immigration, sexuality, gender and slavery. In addition to novels and graphic novels, the class will include critical analyses of popular culture such as hip-hop, music videos and blogs. Many of the topics can become controversial but the classroom will be a safe place to work through some of the messiness of race and gender. For example: D. Squires, The Black American Autobiography Perhaps the most vital genre in black American literature, autobiography has been central to understanding the development of American history and African American autobiography is central to this understanding. Key historical figures such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson offered personal accounts of America's foundation. Instead of starting with the founding fathers, however, we'll begin in the cotton field on a journey that will take us all the way to the White House. Starting with texts written by former slaves (Douglass, Jacobs, Wells), this course will explore American life before and after the Civil War, and into the 20th century. Ida B. Wells and Richard Wright provide formidable accounts of segregated America. We will then turn to stories about civil rights movements and the struggle to desegregate the U.S. (Haley, Moody, Angelou). Well tackle questions about sex in the aftermath of the rights movements with Audre Lorde and well ask what exactly Barack Obama, and America more generally, has inherited from this exemplary tradition of American autobiography. This course is the same as AAS 271, and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements.