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ENGL 537 A: Topics In American Studies

Black Literatures, Religion, and Faith Practices

Meeting Time: 
TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
ECE 031
Joint Sections: 
ENGL 537 B
Close up of Laura Chrisman
Laura Chrisman

Syllabus Description:

Black literatures have deep historical connections to religion, spirituality, and faith practices. This course will introduce some canonical Black American literary figures leading up to and including the Harlem Renaissance: James Weldon Johnson, W. E. B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes, asking how religious traditions influence the content and form of their literature.  It will then expand to cover a variety of significant Black artists from Africa and the global African diaspora, including Mazisi Kunene, Yvonne Vera, M. NourbeSe Philip, Nalo Hopkinson, Kei Miller, and Jericho Brown. We will address the fruitfulness of religion as a context and inspiration as well as the heterodoxies and unruliness of literary expression. No prior knowledge of religion is needed for the course, and all perspectives are welcome.

The course will be co-taught by Professor Laura Chrisman, a scholar of African, Black Atlantic and African Diaspora Studies, and Professor Charles LaPorte, a scholar of religion and literature.  Professors Chrisman and LaPorte look forward to learning from one another as well as from our students.

Last updated: 
January 18, 2024 - 9:37am