African American Literature, 1900-present 


Professor Daylanne English 

Why should I take this class? Simply because there is no more important course that you can take at this moment. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the worldwide protests that have followed, we must not just carry signs that proclaim that “Black Lives Matter,” we must center Black lives and Black art, including by reading and studying African American literature. 

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence.”—Toni Morrison 

In keeping with Morrison’s command, in this course we will “do language,” in a shared project of analyzing, appreciating, learning from, and writing about literary works by African American artists.

Selected authors: Jazz poetry, prose poems, short stories, and novels by W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Claudia Rankine, Octavia Butler, and Ross Gay.

Past and present: We will dedicate class time each week to studying connections between our texts and contemporary political and social events and contexts, including protests and pandemic.

Learn more: Macalester also offers ENGL 112, Introduction to African American Literature. 


October 29 2020

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