Sep 22, 2019  
Catalogue 2019-2020 
    
Catalogue 2019-2020
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AFRS 380 - English Seminar

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
(Same as ENGL 380 ) Topic for 2019/20a: Then Whose Negro Are You?: On the Art and Politics of James Baldwin. When interviewers sought out some sense of James Baldwin’s ambition, the artist often responded, “I want to be an honest man and a good writer.” The forces constellated around Baldwin’s career made this hardly a simple declaration. The issue of becoming a writer was an arduous task in itself, so much so that Baldwin felt he had to leave the United States, particularly his adored Harlem, to do so. Getting in the way of his artistry was the nation’s troubled negotiation with its own soul: the US was trying to figure out what it wanted to be—an apartheid state? A nuclear dreadnought? A den of prudish homophobes? An imperial power? A beloved community? A city on the Hill? This course looks at all things Baldwin, or at least as many things as we can over a four-month period. It certainly indulges his greatest hits-his essays, Notes of A Native Son; his novel, Giovanni’s Room; his play, Blues for Mr. Charlie’s–and several other writings both published and unpublished. It does so with an eye toward understanding Baldwin’s circulation as a celebrated author and a public intellectual both in the mid-twentieth century and the present day. Tyrone Simpson.

One 3-hour period.

Course Format: CLS



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