ENGL 3216W(Black Writers II) : African American Autobiography
“Autobiography holds a position of priority, if not preeminence, among the narrative traditions of black America.” This course provides formal and thematic analysis of African American autobiography and a literary historical examination of the genre’s preeminence in the African American literary tradition. Issues of race, memory, trauma, embodiment, and the construction and maintenance of identity will be at the forefront of our study of the representation, performance, and narrative development of the self in autobiographical texts by African American writers. We will entertain a range of critical approaches as we discuss the genre from its roots in slave narratives through contemporary life writing. The reading list (subject to change) includes writing by Julia Foote, James Baldwin, Paule Murray, Malcolm X, Barack Obama, Lorene Cary, Claude Brown, Audre Lorde and Margo Jefferson.
Class periods will involve discussion, minimal lecture, writing instruction, and plenty of in-class assignments. The final grade will be based on regular assignments, a midterm, class participation, and one revised essay.