ENGL749B - Studies In Twentieth-Century Literature: The Spectacle Of Violence In African-American Literature

This course will focus on works that take the spectacle of violence as a central question, inviting analysis of the nature of the relationship (artistic, moral, social, and political) between violence itself and the ways in which it is visualized by readers/spectators, and leading us, furthermore, to consider how the aesthetic realm orients our relationship to violence. The course will be structured around three historical “moments” in African American/African Diaspora literary and cultural history: slavery, the riots   of 1919 internationally, and the Black Arts Movements of the 1970s and ‘80s. For the first cluster around slavery, reading will be drawn from the works of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, William Edgar Easton, CLR James, and Alejo Carpentier. For the second cluster, readings will be drawn from the works of René Girard, Hannah Arendt, Ida B Wells, and Claude McKay. For the last cluster, readings will be drawn from the works of Frantz Fanon, Angela Davis, Amilcar Cabral, and include the films, Killer of Sheep and Camp de Thiaroye. This is a partial list. Requirements: seminar presentations, a short paper, and a seminar research paper.