Spring 2011
- Black Culture and Its Representation: New York City and Beyond

The central text of this seminar will be Black Gotham, a family history of African Americans in New York City, 1800-1900.  As a cultural and social history of free blacks in the city, the book will give us insight into the lived lives of nineteenth-century black New Yorkers:  the neighborhoods in which they lived, their education, community organizations, political activism, occupations, domestic life, church activities, appreciation of the arts, as well as varied experiences throughout the city.  Using the book as a touchstone, we will begin by considering the larger themes of collective memory, forgotten histories, the role of archives, etc.  We will then look at a series of texts that were either authored by black New Yorkers, were part of their reading, or otherwise represented their community.  These will include: slave trade orations; political speeches and essays; newspaper articles; slave narratives; novels and essays of city life; accounts of the 1863 draft riots, etc.  Authors (black and white) will range from the well-known Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Ida B. Wells, and Alexander Crummell to the lesser known Peter Williams, James McCune Smith, George Foster, and others.  Requirements: oral presentations, short paper, seminar paper.


Junior standing. For ENGL majors only.  Course intended primarily for students in English Honors Program. English majors with strong academic records may also apply. Permission from the Director of Honors, Kimberly Coles, required (kcoles@umd.edu).


Repeatable to 9 credits if content differs.