ENGLISH 340 - Studies in Poetry
Winter 2022, Section 001 - Poetry and Race
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/5/22 - 4/19/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


CHECK IT OUT - Video Course Description!

What does race have to do with poetry?  Wait – what do those terms even mean?  Why look at them together?  This mixed lecture and discussion-based course offers a variety of answers:  we’ll explore contemporary poetry and poetics (mostly written in the U.S.)  as arenas where people have grappled with notions of race, explored its history and effects, and worked to make social change and advance antiracist agendas.  Our semester will fall into four units:  First, we’ll get our bearings with our two key terms and develop a working vocabulary for the course by exploring how the meanings of “race” and of “poetry” have shifted from the eighteenth century to today.  Next, we’ll analyze several influential nineteenth and twentieth-century English and American treatises on poetry to explore ideas about race that lie at their center; these treatises will help us to understand how the idea that poetry is the most literary of “human” activity has contributed to racist (and classist!) hierarchies of who counts as human and less-than human.  We’ll then discuss how racial masquerade and minstrelsy in the U.S.--and critiques of these practices and their racist assumptions--have shaped poetry and poetics in the U.S. from the nineteenth century to the present.  During the second half of the course, we’ll read poems and other writing by contemporary poets in the U.S. that grapple with logics of race and identity; these works will allow us to see that the stereotype of poetry as divorced from real world issues and politics is a misunderstanding with a (racist) history.

In sum, our project is to learn to think historically about literature and culture, but also to begin to experience and analyze literature and culture as powerful sites for making new history, new horizons, and new modes of knowing ourselves and each other.

Required course materials will include 3-4 poetry collections plus digitized materials posted on Canvas.


ENGLISH 340 - Studies in Poetry
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22
002 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22

Textbooks/Other Materials

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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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