ENGL317 - Representing Blackness: From Morrison to McGruder

Was The Cosby Show better for social relations than Meet the Browns? Are Tyler Perry’s films good or bad for social relations? This class explores novels, films, and plays that meditate on these questions. We will pair poetry with film (Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls with Tyler Perry’s film adaptation); novels with comic strips (Toni Morrison’s A Mercy with Aaron McGruder’s Boondocks); Harlem Renaissance with post-Black Arts writers (Nella Larsen and Melvin Dixon). Along the way, we will discuss the relationship between “high” and “popular” art and the idea of “respectability.”


Two lower-level English courses, at least one in literature; or permission of department.