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En 141
Contemporary African American Literature
9 units (3-0-6)  | first term
This course will engage works of contemporary African American literature, including Ishmael Reed's experimental novel Mumbo Jumbo (1972) and Octavia Butler's time-travel novel Kindred (1979) and selected Afrofuturist short stories. We will read critical essays about temporality and consider these authors' use of temporal strategies, including anachronisms, non-linear narration, historiography, and the creation of speculative worlds. How does the artistic project of narrating the racialized past create possibilities for imagining alternative futures? The course will analyze the role of slavery, trauma, and collective memory in our readings, and it will set these literary texts in conversation with Afrofuturist music and visual culture from the 1970s to the present. Students will have the opportunity to examine archival materials from the Huntington Library related to Octavia Butler's published fiction.
Instructor: Sherazi