Black Literature, Art, and Politics

Instructors: Ernest Mitchell and Andrew Pope
Meeting time: Tuesday, 3-5:45

Black Art and Politics

The course examines Black literature, art, and politics during the 20th century. We study canonical people, ideas, and artworks alongside lesser known ones to seek a fuller picture of the diversity of black experiences. Typically, scholars have divided 20th century African American politics and art into five periods: the Nadir, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Arts Movement, and the New Right. Political imperatives (above all, the fight against Jim Crow segregation) and available archives guided this categorization. As much as they illuminated, these lenses often obscured the work of people who identified as women, queer, trans*, and working class. We will take up the art and politics of each period and search for archives to find black people whose lives and art are often still excluded from popular knowledge or academic study.