Veranstalter  Lars Schmeink 
Thema  An Introduction to African-American Literature and Culture 
Art der Veranstaltung  Seminar Ib
Veranstaltungsnummer   53-560 
Zeit  2st., Di 12-14 Uhr 
Raum  Phil 1250 
Beginn 18. Oktober 2011

Seminar am Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik der Universität Hamburg im Sommersemester 2011

„The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line – the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea.“ W.E.B. Du Bois writes these famous and almost prophetic words in 1903. In hindsight, one can say that the „color-line“ has been one of the major frontlines in the US-American struggle for identity – an identity that comes to terms with its own history of slavery, an identity that addresses questions of inequality and mistreatment, an identity that until now still measures the African-American with a different standard than the Anglo-American.

In this seminar we will examine the differences and similarities of an African-American culture in the United States. Ever since Colonial times, the African-American experience has been both entrenched in white culture and strongly kept apart. Only briefly touching upon Antebellum and Reconstruction in the 19th century, we will instead concentrate on the emergence of a unique African-American culture with the beginning of the 20th century and trace its development through the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights and the Black Arts movements on to the War on Drugs and the Culture Wars of the 1990s and their implications of racism and political correctness. We will discuss mainly literary examples of cultural production, even though film, music, and cultural events will also be examined to enhance our understanding of the cultural experience.

Reading material

Nella Larsen – Passing (1929) [110 pages] Ralph Ellison – Invisible Man (1953) [we will only read the first 160 pages] Toni Morrison – The Bluest Eye (1970) [160 pages] Film: Boyz N The Hood (Dir. John Singleton, 1991)
Film: Black and White (Dir. James Toback, 1999)

Further texts such as short stories, plays, poems, songs, essays, speeches and academic writing will be made available via a reader that you can buy in the first class session.

!!! Since this a survey class, thus there will be a large amount of reading required from you.

Be prepared to spend at least 2-3 hours per week on reading (depending on reading speed) !!!

Course requirements:

– Active participation and regular attendance
– Regular quizzes on reading material need to be passed with no more than one failed – Planning and realization of one course session (group work)
– Term paper of 10-12 pages by March 1st