Fall 2020

Race, Difference, and the American Imagination

Moodle site: Course


Khary O. Polk (Section 01)


What role has “race” played in shaping the American imagination? How has its use as a metaphor in U.S. national life influenced our understandings of power, privilege, and justice? In what ways has popular culture influenced our understanding of race, and how do “creatives” today resist, reject, and reimagine racial and ethnic difference on social media? In this course, we will examine contemporary racial discourse in the United States, surveying its use as a contested fact of social life by authors, artists, theorists, and activists in the twentieth and twenty-first century. By studying a range of creative and critical texts, including literature, poetry, music, art, film, comedy, cultural criticism, and social media, the course will prepare students to read racial discourse critically across genres and disciplines while also introducing them to the rigors of academic reading and writing.

This discussion-based course will be available online only, using Zoom and Moodle platforms.

Fall semester. Professor Polk.


Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Issues of Social Justice, Attention to Writing, Online Only


2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020