Modern African American Fiction (FRI)
DozentIn: Jatin Wagle, M.A.
Zeiten: Fr. 14:00 - 16:00 (wöchentlich)
Beschreibung: This is a course in American Studies and seeks to examine some of the significant facets in the development of modern African American narrative fiction in the early and mid-twentieth century. From its beginnings in the 1920s during the Harlem Renaissance and through its development over the interwar and then the postwar era, modern African American fiction appears to resist straightforward characterization. Even as it engaged with the racial politics that characterized early twentieth century United States and developed its own variegated literary tradition, it bears a close, albeit uncomfortable relationship with key movements in the mainstream of modern American narrative fiction, such as, naturalism and modernism. Above all, it is shaped by the contemporary debates regarding the role of narrative fiction vis-à-vis politics in general and black political struggle in particular. In this seminar, we will take up pertinent questions concerning both the content and the form of modern African American fiction, for instance, its ability to address the diversity of black experience, its complicated relationship with the politics of gender, as also its relationship with realist, naturalist, and modernist aesthetics. While exploring these issues with the aid of relevant literary-historical as well as critical literature, we will take up the following texts of narrative fiction for their intensive and exemplary discussion:
Jean Toomer, “Blood Burning Moon,” from _Cane_ (1923) [Excerpt will be made available on Stud.IP]
Zora Neale Hurston, “Monkey Junk,” and “The Back Room” (1927) [Stories will be made available on Stud.IP]
Nella Larsen, _Passing_ (1929) [Norton Critical edition, 2008, ISBN: 978-0393979169; 14,50 € (Lehmanns.de)]
Ralph Ellison, _Invisible Man_ (1952) [Penguin edition, 2014, ISBN: 978-0241970560]
In order to take and enjoy this class, you should be willing to read, analyze, and discuss both narrative fiction and analytical/critical texts. Please note that it is expected that students who plan to attend this seminar would have read _Passing_ and _Invisible Man_ before our classes begin, since we will discuss them in detail during our course.
Please note that this course can be taken as either a Literary Studies or a Cultural Studies course. This seminar is recommended for fourth and fifth semester students of English and American Studies, since it builds on students’ sound awareness and understanding of critical and narrative approaches to fiction.
The required readings with a tentative schedule will be made available online on Stud.IP before our first class. Please check the course webpages on Stud.IP regularly for updates, announcements, and changes.
Prerequisites for participation: B1 module
1. Regular attendance and active participation in classroom discussions and group work.
2. All course participants will need to read each of the texts being discussed in the class carefully and prepare their notes or answers diligently in terms of the relevant questions.
3. If you do not engage with the allotted texts and participate actively in classroom discussions, you will be asked to sign out of the course.
Requirements for grade: All of the above, and a well-researched seminar paper (approx. 4000 words). Further instructions in this regard will be provided after the first half of the course is over.