Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-195 | English, as ENGL-195
Cheikh A. Thiam (Section 01)
(Offered as BLST 195[D] and ENGL 195) During the middle decades of the twentieth century, existentialism dominated the European philosophical and literary scene. Prominent theorists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty put the experience of history, alienation, and the body at the center of philosophical and literary life. It should be no surprise, then, that existentialism appealed to so many Afro-Caribbean and African-American thinkers of the same period and after. This course examines the critical transformation of European existentialist ideas through close readings of black existentialists Aime Césaire, Frantz Fanon, George Lamming, and Wilson Harris, paired with key essays from Sartre, Camus, and Merleau-Ponty. We will engage black existentialism not just as a series of claims, but also as a method, which allows us to read works by African-American writers such as W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, and Ralph Ellison in an existentialist frame. Last, we will consider the matter of how and why existentialism continues to function so centrally in contemporary Africana philosophy.
Spring semester. Prof. Thiam
How to handle overenrollment: null
Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: written work, independent research, and oral presentations.