Courses taught include:
AFR 201: The African American Literary Tradition
A survey of the Afro-American experience as depicted in literature from the eighteenth century through the present. Study of various forms of literary expression including the short story, autobiography, literary criticism, poetry, drama, and essays as they have been used as vehicles of expression for Black writers during and since the slave experience.
AFR 211: Introduction to African Literature
The development of African literature in English and in translation. Although special attention will be paid to the novels of Chinua Achebe, writers such as Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Camara Laye, Wole Soynika, Miriama Ba, Nawal El Saadawi and Buchi Emecheta will also be considered. The influence of oral tradition on these writers’ styles as well as the thematic links between them and writers of the Black awakening in America and the West Indies will be discussed.
AFR 212: Black Women Writers
The Black woman writer’s efforts to shape images of herself as Black, as woman, and as artist. The problem of literary authority for the Black woman writer, criteria for a Black woman’s literary tradition, and the relation of Black feminism or "womanism" to the articulation of a distinctively Black and female literary aesthetic.
AFR 229: Rap Music and the African American Poetical Tradition
This course examines the African American poetical tradition from its roots in African oral literature to its contemporaneous manifestation in rapping, a showcase for African American braggadocio, and the art of verbal dexterity and storytelling. The connection of this literary tradition with American cultural values will also be explored. The course will examine the works of Phyllis Wheatley, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Melvin Tolson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden, Derek Walcott, Gill Scott-Heron, the Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni, Public Enemy, RunD.M.C., Tupac, and other artists.
AFR 234: Introduction to West Indian Literature
A survey of contemporary prose and poetry from the English-speaking West Indies. Special attention is paid to the development of this literary tradition in a historical-cultural context and in light of recent literary theories offer. Authors to include V.S. Naipaul, Derek Walcott, Wilson Harris, Jean Rhys, and others.
AFR 265: African American Autobiographies
This course traces the life stories of prominent African Americans, which, in their telling, have led to dramatic changes in the lives of African American people. Some were slaves; some were investigative journalists; some were novelists; and one is the president of the United States. We will examine the complex relationship between the community and the individual; the personal and the political and how these elements interact to form a unique African American person. The course also draws on related video presentations to dramatize these life stories. Authors include Linda Brent, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Malcolm X and Barack Obama.
AFR 266: Black Drama
This course will examine twentieth-century Black drama, with a special emphasis on the period of its efflorescence during the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. We will also explore the Black theatre as a medium of aesthetic expression and communal ritual as well as an instrument of political consciousness and social change. Playwrights will include Douglass Turner Ward, Alice Childress, Ossie Davis, Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, Ed Bullins, Adrienne Kennedy, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Ntozake Shange, and others.
During the twentieth century the Anglophone Caribbean produced a rich body of ideas that had an enormous impact upon the colonial and post-colonial worlds. These ideas cover fields such as history, politics, economics and culture. This course traces the development of these ideas, examines their applicability to the specific circumstances in the Caribbean and analyzes how they resonated in the larger world of ideas. We will look at the works of writers and thinkers that could include: A.R.F. Webber, Marcus Garvey, Arthur Lewis, Eric Williams, C.L.R James, Amy Ashwood Garvey, Jamaica Kinkaid, Patricia Mohammed, Erna Brodber, Cheddi Jagan, Walter Rodney, Maurice Bishop, and Michael Manley.
AFR 310 Seminar. Reading DuBois
This seminar examines various works of W.E.B. DuBois within their historical, social, and cultural contexts. Although this course will pay special attention to DuBois’s literary endeavors, it will also examine his concept of race and color and his approaches to colonialism, civil rights and politics. This seminar will examine the The Souls of Black Folk, Darkwater, John Brown, the Autobiography of W.E.B. DuBois, The Suppression of the African Slave Trade, as well as some of his poems and other fiction.
AFR 320/AMST 320: Seminar. Blackness in the American Literary Imagination
An examination of how blackness has been represented in the American and Caribbean imagination and how it shaped some of the seminal texts in American and Caribbean literature. Implicitly, the course will also examine the obverse of the question posed by Toni Morrison: "What parts do the invention and development of whiteness play in the construction of what is loosely described as ‘American’ literature?"
AFR 344: Advanced Africana Seminar
This course examines through interdisciplinary approaches key texts that shape our understanding of Africana Studies. The major theories, ideas, issues and significant writings that shape Africana Studies will be examined. Consideration will also be given to approaches to Africana Studies, concepts of Afrocentricism and how the text that is selected allows us to understand the discipline in a critical manner. This seminar will be placed within the multicultural, multiracial and religiously plural landscapes of Africana people.