Spring 2018

Tones in Black and White

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-312  |  English, as ENGL-321

Moodle site: Course


Peter Kimani (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 321 and BLST 312.)  Abdul JanMohamed argues that colonialism produces a compartmentalized world in which white authors write to extend their domination through demeaning depictions of blacks, while black authors use their writing to recuperate their people’s dignity through, to use Chinua Achebe’s inventive term, “re-storying.”  The lingering question:  what does this “re-storying” entail?  And how do African writers imagine “whiteness”?

This multi-media course immerses students in songs, films and texts that imagine “otherness” to examine this black-white divide, and how it problematizes race and representation.  Readings may include Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino, Ernest Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa, Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa, Elspeth Huxley’s The Flame Trees of Thika, Tom Stoppard’s Night and Day, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s A Grain of Wheat and Weep Not, Child, and John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me, and the following films:  I Am Not Your Negro, Black Like Me, Black and White in Color.  Students will provide both critical and creative writing.

Admission with consent of the instructor.  Limited to 25 students.  Preregistration is not allowed.  Please consult the Creative Writing Center website for information on admission to this course.  Spring semester.  Visiting Writer Kimani.

If Overenrolled: The instructor will choose from among the applicants on the basis of a writing sample. The instructor will choose students with a lively engagement with literary language and a wide variety of life experience.


Artistic Practice


2019-20: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018