21W.742J / SP.575J / WGS.575J Writing About Race, Spring 2003
Author(s)Faery, Rebecca Blevins
Writing About Race
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The issue of race and racial identity have preoccupied many writers throughout the history of the U.S. In this subject, students read Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Louise Erdrich, William Faulkner, Maxine Hong Kingston, Sandra Cisneros, and Judson Mitcham, among others, as we consider the story of race in its peculiarly American dimensions. The reading, along with the writing of members of the class, is the focus of class discussions. Oral presentations on subjects of individual interest are also part of the class activities. Students explore race and ethnicity in personal essays, pieces of cultural criticism or analysis, or (with permission of instructor) fiction. All written work is read and responded to in class workshops and subsequently revised. From the course home page: Course Description In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), the great cultural critic W. E. B. Du Bois wrote that "…the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line." A century after Du Bois penned those words, most Americans would agree that at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the color line remains one of our most pressing social issues. In this course, we will explore the terrain of race in America by reading the works of writers of color and others concerned with the issue of race, by viewing films that address racial issues, and by writing to explore how the fictions and facts of race condition all our lives, social and civic, private and public. We will consider the complex question of racial identity, test the givens of history by uncovering histories that have been more elusive or more thoroughly suppressed, and explore how writing and reading can both reflect and challenge racial categories, hierarchies, and perceptions. The reading is at once wonderful and disturbing, and the writing you will do will open up arenas of increased understanding for both you and your readers.
writing race, Sandra Cisneros, Louise Erdrich, William Faulkner, Maxine Hong Kingston, Judson Mitcham, Toni Morrison, 21W.742J, SP.575J, WMN.575J, 21W.742, SP.575, WMN.575, Race in literature