English 133B

Upper Division Coursework: African American Literature and Culture Since 1917: Voice/s of Autobiography

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2005 Nanda, Aparajita
MWF 2-3 30 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes Were Watching God; Ellison, Ralph : Invisible Man; Morrison, Toni : Beloved; Bradley, David : The Chaneysville Incident; Naylor, Gloria : Mama Day; Butler, Octavia : Bloodchild and Other Stories

Course Reader: Selections from writings of Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, bell hooks, Alice Walker, Henry L. Gates, Houston Baker "


"This course attempts to read identity politics through the lens of autobiography that has become, to quote Roland Barthes ""an exchange, an interpenetration"" where ""the writers themselves practice criticism [and] their work articulates the conditions of its own birth or even its own absence."" The art and practices of autobiographical writings are not a mere retrieval of one's past but an investigation into the many ""selves"" [the ""others""] of the writing ""I."" It involves ""voice"" as an activity by which the text's positioning is revealed. Selected African-American writings explore this creative aspect of self-narration that involves the specter of enslavement, ancestral myths and practices while taking into cognizance origin, movement, gender, class and race. By playing on the oral and aural implications of the story the writer problematizes the indeterminate borderlines of identity politics and gendered subjectivity and its role in the production of meaning. "

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