English 133B

African American Literature and Culture Since 1917

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
1 Summer 2022 Robinson, Jared
TWTh 2-4:30 204 Wheeler D


The first two decades of the 20th century spelled disaster for the formally enslaved and their descendants. Commonly referred to as the nadir of black life in America, this time saw a spike in lynchings, the dethroning of several hard fought seats for African Americans in congress, as well as a sweeping regressive resurgence of Jim Crow policy. This ever-tightening cultural stranglehold at home was met by the discovery of social freedoms abroad, as black troops served in the first and second World Wars as well as armed conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. The social unrest caused in part by the encounter with differently prejudiced populations, especially on the European continent, coupled with the intensity of the white violence that answered the new expectations of blacks at home, would boil over into America’s second mid-century internal conflict—the Civil War turned Civil Rights. As the centennial of that most bloody conflict in American history approached (far out killing any of the wars mentioned above), the concerns that had driven brother to slaughter brother found a novel and “non-violent”, black-lead expression. The literary culture that sprung up to document and critique this movement—from Black Reconstruction thru Harlem Renaissance to Anti-capitalist Revolution—is the topic of this course.

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