CAAS 338 - Literature in Afro-American Culture
Section: 001 Conceptions of Crime and Justice in 20th/21st-Century African American Literature
Term: WN 2010
Subject: Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Class Misc Info:
Students must attend the first two class meetings in order to remain enrolled in the course. This class satisfies the New Traditions requirement for English concentrators.
Advisory Prerequisites:
CAAS 201.
Other Course Info:
(African-American Studies).
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

“Just as we now assume that one cannot intelligently teach nineteenth-century American literature without recognizing slavery as context,” writes H. Bruce Franklin, “one cannot responsibly teach contemporary American literature without recognizing the American prison system as context.”

In this course, we’ll explore why and how issues of race, crime, and justice have emerged as prominent themes in African American literature over the past century. We’ll discuss the many ways in which practices of slavery and punishment have been linked in the United States, and we’ll analyze how those legacies have shaped—and continue to shape—the imaginations of writers. Furthermore, we’ll investigate how issues of gender, sexuality, class, and nationality inflect conceptions of crime and justice in a range of literary texts.

The following questions will guide our inquiries: In what ways have African American writers used literary texts as means to counter, complicate, or revise dominant conceptions of crime and justice? What are the limits and possibilities of literature as a tool for challenging racialized forms of injustice?

In addition to essays and a few films, our course materials will include fiction by some of the following authors: Charles Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, Ann Petry, Richard Wright, Gayl Jones, Toni Morrison, Ernest J. Gaines, Percival Everett, Cornelius Eady, John Edgar Wideman, Paul Beatty, Sister Souljah, and Pearl Cleage.

Course requirements include brief weekly writing assignments, three critical analysis essays, and active participation in class discussions and peer review workshops.

CAAS 338 - Literature in Afro-American Culture
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Coursepack Location:
Accu-Copy (518 East William St.)
The coursepack will be available the first week of class.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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