English 133T

Topics in African American Literature and Culture: Slavery--Theory and Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2012 JanMohamed, Abdul R.
JanMohamed, Abdul
TTh 11-12:30 123 Wheeler

Book List

Butler , Octavia: Kindred; Jones, Edward: The Known World; Morrison, Toni: A Mercy; Walker, Alice: The Third Life of Grange Copeland; Wright, Richard: The Long Dream


This course will explore the differences and similarities between the “theory” of slavery and the “experience” of slavery.  Theoretical explorations of slavery will be chosen from the writings of Aristotle, John Locke, G. W. F. Hegel, and some contemporary views.  The literary texts will be selected from the autobiographies and novels depicting chattel slavery and Jim Crow society in the U.S.  Toward the end of the course we will also examine some aspects of contemporary slavery – wage slavery, debt bondage, human trafficking, penal labor, sexual slavery, etc.  All of the theoretical material will be contained in a class reader (to be posted on bspace).

Literary texts will be chosen from the following:  Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (available online); Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (available online); Henry Bibb, The Life and Adventure of Henry Bibb (available online); Richard Wright, The Long Dream; Alice Walker, The Third Life of Grange Copeland; Toni Morrison, A Mercy; Octavia Butler, Kindred (and “Bloodchild”); Edward P. Jones, The Known World.



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