English 133B

African American Literature and Culture Since 1917

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2020 JanMohamed, Abdul R.
MWF 1-2

Book List

Butler, Octavia: Kindred; Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; Ellison, Ralph: Invisible Man; Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes were Watching God; Jacobs, Harriet: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl ; Morrison, Toni: Beloved; Walker, Alice: The Third Life of Grange Copeland; Wright, Richard: Native Son

Other Readings and Media

Octavia Butler, "Bloodchild" (short story)


This course will examine some major 20th-century African American novels; however, given the nature of the terrain, the course will also dip back into the period of slavery in the U.S. (the works of Douglass and Jacobs).  Beloved will take us back into a fictionalized version of the notorious Margaret Garner trial for infanticide (1850s); the texts by Wright, Hurston, Ellison, and Walker will allow us to explore the socio-political forces that prevailed during the Jim Crow society in the “Deep South” in the mid-20th century; and Butler’s novel will take us to the intersection of science fiction and slavery.  This is a vast terrain to cover and so the chosen texts do not adequately represent the diversity and richness of the novels and autobiographies written during these periods.  Rather, they are chosen because they significantly address paradigmatic issues regarding race, gender, class, and “subject formation” in modern African American culture.

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