English 165

Special Topics: Neo-Slave Narratives

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2018 JanMohamed, Abdul R.
TTh 3:30-5 301 Wheeler


While this course will focus on neo-slave narratives, we will begin by briefly examining several slave narratives.  The course will explore the similarities and differences between the two groups, asking the following kinds of questions: how do the two groups represent the experience of bondage, the fear of death, and the possibilities of freedom; how do they utilize the various limitations and freedoms provided by the forms they choose (mainly autobiographies for the former and fiction for the latter); how do the expectations of their intended audience affect the nature of the narratives; how do the historically very different notions of human subjectivity affect their representations; how “successful” are the neo-slave narratives in “retrieving” the past?, etc.

Primary Texts:  While the final list of texts is not entirely fixed, texts will be chosen from the following: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Harriett Jacobs), Beloved (Toni Morrison), Corregidora (Gayl Jones) Kindred (Octavia Butler), Dessa Rose (Sherley Williams), Flight to Canada (Ishmael Reed), The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead), Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade (Manu Herbstein), Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi), and others. 

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