Slavery in American Art, Literature, and Performance
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Christina Knight (Section 01)
(Offered as BLST 343 [US] and THDA 343. Why is slavery such a common theme in American cultural production? Does engaging with such a topic address historical trauma or reinscribe it? Have the ways that artists engage with slavery changed over time? This course examines how black artists throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have chosen to represent the history and legacy of slavery, how those representations shape popular beliefs as well as what role fiction can play in historical representation. Beginning with a brief history of slavery in the Americas, we will engage primary sources as varied as early-twentieth century plays, the neo-slave narrative tradition of the 1970s and 1980s, late-twentieth century epic poetry and contemporary visual art and installation. Using recent criticism, we will also explore changes in the historiography of slavery; secondary texts will include works by Saidiya Hartman, Daphne Brooks, Huey Copeland, and Darby English.
Spring semester. Visiting Professor Knight.