Major African Diaspora Women Writers: #blackwomenslivesmatter

English 4480/7480
Section 1
April Langley
8-9:15 a.m.
Tate 215

Korryn Gaines, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Michelle Cusseaux, Tanisha Anderson, Shelly Frey, Yvette Smith, Eleanor Bumpurs, and others remind us that “Black Women’s Lives Matter too.” It is not only in the aftermath of recent and highly publicized resurgent violence against black women and men that we are reminded to #sayhername. Beginning with Phillis Wheatley black women writers have produced some of the earliest creative, political, scholarly, religious, and personal/public works. As a result, their collective and particular voices have marked some of richest cultural and intellectual contexts of our time. Clearly, their engagement with the most critical issues of their generations—sexuality, oppression, exploitation, violence, slavery, freedom, social progress, racism, aesthetics, and economics, to name a few—remains an important part of our contemporary and ongoing dialogue with the racialized politics of class and gender. This course explores the contributions of black women in early African American literature with a focus on the major texts in the canon of eighteenth- and nineteenth- century African American women’s writing—to include readings in poetry, drama, essays, speeches, novel, political tracts, spiritual autobiography as well as videos and other secondary readings and sources.  Assignments include class discussion, short informal responses, one oral presentation, and one final essay.