One of the most important cultural phenomena of the 1920s was the flowering of African American culture known as the "Harlem Renaissance." This course will survey that explosion of creativity against the backdrop of the political, economic, and social history of the period. A major argument in this course is that the so-called "renaissance" was more than just an ill-fated foray into cultural politics but was a period of institution-building that laid much of the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1940s and 1950s. We will discuss the changes in American life that help us to account for this period of artistic expression as well as the motivations and goals of participants--the all-important questions of "identity." There will, of course, be an emphasis on the literature of the Renaissance; the novels of Jean Toomer, Walter White, Nella Larsen, the poetry of Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, the research and writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Perhaps more importantly, we will spend a great deal of time discussing the black painters of the period, African American theatre, the emergence of Jazz, and the advent of African American film-making. Students will also acquaint themselves with the major historiographichal schools of thought, including the newest Harlem revisionism.
- Credits: 3
- Faculty: Dr. Huddle