English 100

Junior Seminar: Diasporic Identities

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Fall 2005 Hartman, Saidiya V.
Hartman, Saidiya
TTh 9:30-11 106 Wheeler
Other Readings and Media

Edwards, B.: The Practice of Diaspora; Gilroy, P.: The Black Atlantic; Diawara, M.: In Search of Africa; Chamoiseau, P.: Texaco; Kincaid, J.: The Autobiography of My Mother, Lucy: A Small Place (Course Reader); Phillips, C.: Crossing the River, Higher Ground, The Atlantic Sound; Glissant, E.: The Fourth Century, Caribbean Discourse; Danticat, E.: Breath, Eyes, Memory, The Dew Breaker; Conde, M.: Windward Heights; Naylor, G.: Mama Day; Nunez, E.: Beyond the Limbo Dance; Perez, L. M.: Geographies of Home


This course examines representations of the African diaspora in contemporary literature by black writers in the U.S., Africa and the Caribbean. Through an engagement with literature, film and theories of diaspora, the class will consider a range of questions about the nature of the identity, history, and displacement. Specifically, the course will explore issues of racial formation and national genealogies, narratives of dispersal and return, histories of slavery and colonialism, and the convergences and disputes that define the relations between black populations scattered throughout the Americas and Europe. Some of the questions to be considered are: What is the relation between dispossession and self-making in the diasporic imagination? What are the cultural and political linkages that connect the diaspora? What is the role of gender and sexuality in the construction of black identities? What is the role of memory in mobilizing political struggle? What is the role of literary and cultural production in redressing historical injury?

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