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    Vassar College
  Jan 18, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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ENGL 251 - Topics in Black Literatures

Semester Offered: Spring
1 unit(s)

(Same as AFRS 251 ) This course considers Black literatures in all their richness and diversity. The focus changes from year to year, and may include study of a historical period, literary movement, or genre. The course may take a comparative, diasporic approach or may examine a single national or regional literature.

Topic for 2017/18b: Monsters, Zombies and Time Travelers in African American Fiction​. While many believe African American literature is bound by the generic and political expectations of American literary realism, black Americans have lived and imagined the “un-real” from the moment of their enslavement in the Americas. This course considers how black creatives have used and continue to use speculative fiction/afrofuturism/sci-fi to critique forms of racial difference and imagine alternatives to the here-and-now of the American experience. Over the semester, we explore narratives that feature time travel, texts that craft racial utopias only to plot their deterioration, and tales of monsters and zombies to explore key themes associated with black speculative fiction and black literary production. Questions of genre, its limits and expectations, are also central to this course. This course may include writings by Octavia Butler, Kiese Laymon, Victor LaValle, Colson Whitehead, and others. Eve Dunbar.

Two 75-minute periods.

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