English 174

Literature and History: Culture in the Age of Obama

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2018 Saul, Scott
MWF 12-1 2011 Valley LSB


This seminar explores the forms of culture that emerged, or experienced a renaissance, during the presidency of Barack Obama. Starting with Obama's own bildungsroman-like Dreams from My Father, we will then explore such forms as the theatrical remix (Hamilton: The Musical; CalShakes' Black Odyssey, which we will attend); the neo-slave narrative (Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad; Paul Beatty's The Sell Out); the family novel (Jessmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones; Angela Flournoy's The Turner House); the race-driven horror tale (Get Out; Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom); the lyrical tale of personal awakening (Moonlight, adapted from Tarrell Alvin McRaney's play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue); and the innovative remix of musical genres, like hip-hop, jazz, and neo-soul, often coded as 'black' (Solange's A Seat at the Table; D'Angelo's Black Messiah; Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly).

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