African American Expatriate Culture in Postwar Europe
9 units (3-0-6) | second term
In the years following World War II, an unprecedented number of African American writers and artists moved to Paris and Rome, many seeking greater personal liberties and a refuge from racial discrimination at home. As we explore literature, nonfiction, and visual culture created by African Americans in postwar Europe, we will consider: how and why does the postwar creative scene in Paris differ from that of Rome? We will analyze postwar African American expatriate writing's unique and often critical perspectives regarding American society and culture and identify the literary strategies that writers used to address the changing times, promote social justice, and advance new narrative forms, often by crossing traditional boundaries of genre and nation. Authors and artists studied may include James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Barbara Chase-Riboud, William Demby, Maya Angelou, and Ralph Ellison.