Race, Sex & Transgression in Contemporary Black Lit (w/C. Lit 535A)
English 556B: Race, Sex and Transgression in Contemporary African-American Literatures.
Despite being enshrined and canonized for postures of resistance and its counter-hegemonic poetics and politics, much African-American thought and writing has also functioned to police its own borders, often in the name of racial solidarity. This self-policing has often manifest in a silent but authoritative control over appropriate notions of narrative form, ideological content and, most notably, terms of sexuality, desire and intimacy. In this class we will engage “outlaw” works that emphasize intra-racial tactics of representation and the tensions around appropriate racial representation and cultural/social definition. As such, the class will focus on writers and critics who go as much against the grain of conventional black thought and politics as they engage race, racism, history and culture in largely sexual terms. We will also be working through critics deeply engaged in theorizing sex, race, stereotype and violence.
A word of caution: for those students for whom extreme representations of race, sex and violence could be disturbing, and for whom unconventional political issues and conceptual framing might be hard to take, this course may not be for you.