Current Courses* (Spring 2018):

Black Classicism Graduate Seminar

Black Feminist Literature and Theory 

Black Woman Writers


Past Courses* (full instructional responsibility):

Black Classicism (Fall 2017)

American Gothic Literature (Fall 2017)

Introduction to Literature (Fall 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2015)

Critical Issues in Cultural Studies: African American Anti-Racism-Words & Actions (Spring 2017)

19C Black New World Literature (Spring 2017)

Harlem Renaissance Literature (Spring 2017)

Black Feminist Literature and Theory (Fall 2016)
During this course, students read a variety of works of black feminist poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and theory. We located some of the earliest discussions of black women’s rights, identity formation, and politics in the nineteenth century, and read works that extend into our present moment. The course was reading and writing intensive, and every class required preparation of a primary text and supplementary reading through which we will explore central black feminist discourses. Texts included autobiographical writings by Harriet Jacobs and Audre Lorde, novels by Gayl Jones, Toni Morrison, and critical readings from the essay collection, Words of Fire, edited by Beverly Guy-Sheftall.

Slave and Neo-Slave Narrative (Fall 2016)
This course introduced students to a variety of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century autobiographical works by enslaved persons in the United States and the twentieth century reimaginings of these stories. The class also read companion literary criticisms of these works. As a class, we considered the ways that critics have historically read these works, and come to our own critiques and comparisons of the early works and the more recent fictional works. Texts included but were not limited to narratives by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and William Craft, and novels by Gayl Jones, Octavia Butler, and Charles Johnson.

American Protest Literature (Spring 2016)
During this class, we explored a history of American protest fiction, essay, poetry, and art. The class concentrated on the unique spaces carved through these works, and reflect on how this history resonates, now. All semester long, we grappled with questions of effective protest, definitions of “resistance,” “protest,” and “demonstration,” and the historical trajectories of protest movements as they have laid a foundation for our current US political moment. We considered how major movements such as Indigenous American Rights, Abolition, Black Civil Rights, Black and White Feminism, and Queer Civil Rights influenced more recent calls for action by Occupy Wall Street and #BlackLivesMatter. Students created their own multi-media works of protest art.

Feminist Afrofuturisms (Fall 2015)

In “Feminist Afro-Futurisms,” our class explored the long history of black feminist speculative production, beginning with the turn of the twentieth-century. We discussed black feminine subjectivity while reading the 1903 novel by Pauline E. Hopkins, Of One Blood, along with later twentieth-century works by Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson. By situating these novels side-by-side, along additional literary works and black feminist literary theory and criticism, this course bridged more recent writings by and concerns of black women feminists with the lesser known works by nineteenth-century Black New Women. We will also interrogate the legacy of black feminine creative production spanning the century. These issues include but are not limited to the position of black women as mothers and family members, concerns of sexual violence, hypersexuality and hypervisibility, questions of canonicity, and the ongoing marginality of black women’s works within the academic classroom.

Twentieth-Century African American Poetry and Theory, Introduction to Poetry
(Spring 2015)

This course focused on twentieth-century African American poetry and concurrent theory and criticism of gender, race, and class.  Together, the class worked through issues arising from shifts in poetic form and content throughout the century, and consider the function of African American creative production within its scocio-historical context.  We discussed the various poetic schools, including the turn-of-the-century, Harlem Renaissance, modernist, Black Arts, and post-modern movements.  From our reading of these poems along with critical and theoretical essays, we identified creative and societal/cultural concerns of the various movements.  Additionally, we examined the efficacy of creative production as the potential representative and agent of criticism. Authors included but were not limited to: Anne Spencer, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Melvin B. Tolson, Robert Hayden, Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Jayne Cortez, and Audre Lorde. 


Twentieth-Century American Literature, Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis (Spring 2015)
In this course, we read broadly across the twentieth-century American literary canon.  We identified and work towards answers to questions that emerge when comparing the concerns and projects of both canonical and non-canonical works.  We closely examined the functions of canon and definitions of American citizenship that arise through the intersections of these various texts (fiction, poetry, essay, and literary criticism).  We considered how canons are formed and to what end. We also raised questions about canon revision:  Is it important that we revise “the canon,” and if so why?  What are the advantages or disadvantages of a static canon?  Texts included short stories and novels by William Carlos Williams, Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, James Baldwin, John Okada, Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, Phillip Roth, Ha Jin, David Foster Wallace, and Sherman Alexie, among others.

Mythmaking and the American Imagination, Prose Fiction: Forms and Techniques (Spring 2013)
This course focuses primarily but not exclusively upon 19th- and 20th-Century American fiction. Reading widely across the two centuries, the American-authored short stories and novels at the center of the class include ancient mythological forms, allusions, themes, and concerns. Throughout the semester, we considered the ways that classical myths influenced American storytelling, cultural constructions, and national identity. The American texts include but are not limited to The Red Badge of CourageOf One Blood, selections from Aesop’s Fables, and Wonder Woman. Additionally, we will read portions of Bulfinch’s Mythology, the French novella Undine (in translation), and Frankenstein.

English Composition: Election Year (Fall 2012)
This course requires you to critically engage in both writing and discussion with the issues and process of American presidential elections, and particularly the 2012 race. Primarily focusing on writing across professional genres, including the academic essay and formal business letter, the class considers those issues historically influencing citizens’ election decisions, including the economy, domestic and foreign policies, and civil rights. During this course, students utilize close-reading, in-class discussion, and library research skills as well as produce essays further demonstrating these critical practices.  Texts include popular and peer-review journal articles, “First Inaugural Speech” by George Washington, “The Election for Beadle” by Charles Dickens, “First Inaugural Address” and “House Divided Speech” by Abraham Lincoln, “Lynch Law in America” by Ida B. Wells-Barnett, “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner and “Hills Like White Elephants” by Earnest Hemmingway, as well as The Bedford Handbook by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers and They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein.

Bad Girls, Handmaids, & Martyrs: Feminist Literature and Theory Since the 1400s, Literature/Analytical Thinking, applicable also for credit towards Women & Gender Studies major and minor (Fall 2011, Spring 2012)
During this course, explored a variety of feminist essays, fiction, and poetry, beginning with Christine de Pizan’s “Hymn to Joan of Arc.” During each unit of this course read seminal feminist theoretical texts to frame featured creative works. Pairing of theory and creative work enriched our understanding of the historical arch of feminism from pre-First Wave through the present Gender Studies discourses. Required texts included: The Essential Feminist Reader by Estelle B. Freedman, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler.

Speculative Narratives of the Other, Literature/Analytical Thinking (Fall 2010 and Spring 2011)
This course introduced critical analysis and writing about speculative fictions, depictions of alternative worlds through literature and other texts. The class explored a variety of genres such as short story, poetry, and the novel, as well as film and television. Together, the class considered the following questions: In what ways do the worlds created in works by authors Sir Thomas More, Octavia Butler, W.E.B. DuBois, Gayl Jones and Samuel Delany reflect or critique historical conceptions of nationhood and nationality? How might episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and the film “Children of Men” connect with the literature to discuss visions of futurity? What can all of these works uncover about our present spaces, places, and time?

*All undergraduate courses unless otherwise indicated.