English R1A

Reading and Composition: Ralph Ellison and Double-Consciousness

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2005 Joel Nickels
TTh 8-9:30 221 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Ellison, R.: Invisible Man

Ellison, R.: Juneteenth

A course reader"


"In this class we will read Ralph Ellison?s two novels, Invisible Man and the recently compiled reader?s edition of his magisterial forty-year work-in-progress, Juneteenth. We will also read sizable excerpts from his collection of essays, Shadow and Act, and from the works of cultural theorists such as W. E. B. Du Bois, C. L. R. James and Frantz Fanon. One of the ultimate goals of the class will be for students to integrate the theoretical concepts elaborated in works such as these into argumentative essays on Ellison?s literary work. For example, W. E. B. Du Bois understands African Americans to be possessed of a ?double-consciousness,? a ?sense of always looking at one?s self through the eyes of others,? a condition that is simultaneously alienating and generative of a valuable kind of ?second-sight.? This concept will help orientate our approach to the models of consciousness explored in Ellison?s literary work, as well as the later Marxist and psychoanalytic models of consciousness we will explore.

Students will be expected to write numerous short essays, with increasing emphasis being placed on close reading, literary analysis and theoretical argumentation. "

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