ENGL 200 C: Reading Literary Forms

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 11:30am - 12:20pm
CDH 101
Alysse Jaclyn Hotz

Additional Details:

Course Description:

This class will examine literary and other cultural texts from the past and present to historicize and contextualize the long history of struggles against anti-black racial state violence in the U.S., and to consider the role of what we will loosely term “protest literatures” play in illuminating and challenging forms of anti-black racial state violence. While the contemporary Black Lives Matter Movement seeks to address and eliminate various forms of state violence against black communities—poverty, mass incarceration, continued inequality in schools, housing, and employment sectors—the hashtag that now serves as an umbrella for a diverse set of issues, organizations, and tactics was originally coined by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in response to the murder of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Our course will take up a selection of texts that exemplifies the longer history of this struggle against the “extra”-legal murder of black men and women in the U.S., though as Jacqueline Goldsby’s work will remind us, if we consider “extralegal” forms of violence such as lynching as something isolated to a specific geographic location (the “South”) in another time (the “past”) we overlook the various ways in which black death is normalized and has persisted in American society and culture. As such, we will specifically be examining literary and other cultural texts that protest and critique these patterns of anti-black racial state violence within the U.S. state to develop an understanding of (dis)continuities in patterns of racial state violence in the U.S. over time by looking at the strategies that authors, artists, activists, individuals, and organizations have used to illuminate and protest patterns of anti-black racial state violence. We will trace these patterns of state violence and political protest in newsprint, political pamphlets, non-fiction essays, periodicals, short stories, poetry, plays, song, film, official state reports, multi-media video and other social media from anti-lynching campaigns of the late 19th and early 20th century to the present day struggles against police brutality. When examining these texts, we will consider not only what kinds of political arguments are being made in and through these texts, but also how these texts employ specific strategies and appeals in order to produce politicized subjectivities within their forms as a means to encourage certain forms of individual and collective identification and action, both at the time and site of their original production and reception and as we read them “out of their original context,” say, in university classrooms of the present day. Broadly speaking, this class will ask students to consider “the politics” of these texts and the forms of knowing they can/do encourage and enable, as well the politics of our own reading practices.

Catalog Description: 
Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 12:38pm